The effects of global warming and pollution of any type are visible all around us, and there is no one to blame but ourselves. Now what researchers draw attention upon are polluted waters: how did we get here and to what risks are we exposing ourselves?
The climate changes cause the water temperature to increase in seas and oceans around the world. Warmer water allows bacteria to grow and develop. These small marine organisms are damaging for both animals in the water and for humans since they consume seafood. Both the United States and the Northern shores of Europe are affected by this new villain, as the scientists suggest:
“We were able to demonstrate that there was an increase in the numbers of vibrios, probably a two or threefold increase, correlated with the increase in climate temperature, and then correlated with outbreaks of vibrio infections that have been recorded in the medical records.” (Rita Colwell, University of Maryland).
Vibrio bacterium is the new enemy that is infecting our waters. It transmits to humans a disease called vibriosis, by infecting their wounds while in the water, or getting into the human organism via undercooked food.
The situation is worse than expected because even people in Alaska reported vibriosis cases, although the bacteria live only in warm waters. Eating raw or undercooked fish or other seafood may lead to vibrios, so people should pay more attention to what they eat and how they prepare food. Another observation is to be made here, namely that people should also be careful about the places they chose to go swimming: polluted waters are not something you want to neglect.
Researcher Rita Colwell notes that the number of cases is bigger than expected. She and her team have been looking at years such as 1994, 1997, 2003, 2006 and 2010, which remain in history as some of the hottest years.
Donald Boesch (University of Maryland) points out the importance of this study:
“What this new research does is present evidence of the increased prevalence of these bacteria over broad regions of the North Atlantic from preserved samples collected over 54 years. The prevalence of these bacteria has increased as the ocean has warmed, both as result of global warming and multi-decadal variations in ocean circulation. This trend may be caused by changes in the plankton community rather than just the temperature alone. In other words, increased prevalence may be an ecosystem-level effect of climate change.”
Rita Colwell ‘s study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Image source: Wikipedia