Climate warming and increasing Vibrio vulnificus infections in North America

Archer, Elizabeth J. ORCID:, Baker-Austin, Craig, Osborn, Timothy J. ORCID:, Jones, Natalia R. ORCID:, Martinez-Urtaza, Jaime, Trinanes, Joaquin A., Oliver, James D., Colón González, Felipe J. and Lake, Iain R. ORCID: (2023) Climate warming and increasing Vibrio vulnificus infections in North America. Scientific Reports, 13. ISSN 2045-2322

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Vibrio vulnificus is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen, occurring in warm low-salinity waters. V. vulnificus wound infections due to seawater exposure are infrequent but mortality rates are high (~ 18%). Seawater bacterial concentrations are increasing but changing disease pattern assessments or climate change projections are rare. Here, using a 30-year database of V. vulnificus cases for the Eastern USA, changing disease distribution was assessed. An ecological niche model was developed, trained and validated to identify links to oceanographic and climate data. This model was used to predict future disease distribution using data simulated by seven Global Climate Models (GCMs) which belong to the newest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). Risk was estimated by calculating the total population within 200 km of the disease distribution. Predictions were generated for different “pathways” of global socioeconomic development which incorporate projections of greenhouse gas emissions and demographic change. In Eastern USA between 1988 and 2018, V. vulnificus wound infections increased eightfold (10–80 cases p.a.) and the northern case limit shifted northwards 48 km p.a. By 2041–2060, V. vulnificus infections may expand their current range to encompass major population centres around New York (40.7°N). Combined with a growing and increasingly elderly population, annual case numbers may double. By 2081–2100 V. vulnificus infections may be present in every Eastern USA State under medium-to-high future emissions and warming. The projected expansion of V. vulnificus wound infections stresses the need for increased individual and public health awareness in these areas.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Data availability: The Cholera and Other Vibrio Illness Surveillance database (COVIS) may be obtained through enquiry to the US Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia. The oceanographic and climate data may be freely obtained from the CMIP6 CEDA ESGF search portal for the Alfred Wegener Institute and the WorldClim website. Population data may be obtained from the Gridded Population of the World, Version 4 (GPWv4). SSP specific future population data were obtained from the ISIMIP ESGF server. SSP specific future age distributions were obtained from the U.S. County-Level Population Projections. Funding information: Elizabeth Archer is supported by NERC and through the ARIES DTP [grant number NE/S007334/1] and co-funded by Cefas Seedcorn [DP902E].
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 3 - good health and well-being,sdg 13 - climate action,3*,4l ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Science
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climatic Research Unit
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Water Security Research Centre
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2023 15:30
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 14:12
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-28247-2


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