A case-control analysis of traceback investigations for Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections (vibriosis) and pre-harvest environmental conditions in Washington State, 2013–2018

Benjamin J.K. Davis, Anne E. Corrigan, Zhe Sun, Erika Atherly, Angelo DePaola, Frank C. Curriero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a major cause of seafood-borne illness. It is naturally prevalent in brackish waters and accumulates in shellfish. Vibriosis cases are rising globally, likely due to rising temperatures. Objectives: To identify associations between vibriosis in Washington State and pre-harvest environmental and V. parahaemolyticus genetic measurements sampled from shellfish. Methods: Successful vibriosis traceback investigations were spatiotemporally matched to routine intertidal oyster (Crassostrea gigas) sampling events, which included measurements of temperature, salinity, and V. parahaemolyticus genetic targets (thermolabile hemolysin: tlh; thermostable direct hemolysin: tdh; thermostable direct-related hemolysin: trh). Unmatched sampling events were treated as controls. Associations were evaluated using logistic regression models. Results: Systematic differences were observed across Washington harvesting zones. These included positive associations between the odds of vibriosis and all three genetic targets in South Puget Sound, with a large odds ratio (OR) = 13.0 (95% CI: 1.5, 115.0) for a 1-log10 increase in tdh when total bacterium abundance was low (tlh < 1 log10 MPN/g). A positive association also occurred for a 1 °C increase in tissue temperature OR = 1.20 (95% CI: 1.10, 1.30) while a negative association occurred for a similar increase in water temperature OR = 0.70 (95% CI: 0.59, 0.81). In contrast, the coastal bays displayed positive associations for water temperature OR = 2.16 (95% CI, 1.15, 4.05), and for a 1-log10 increase in the tdh:trh ratio OR = 5.85 (95% CI, 1.06, 32.26). Discussion: The zonal variation in associations indicates unique pathogenic strain prominence, suggesting tdh+/trh+ strains in South Puget Sound, such as the O4:K12 serotype, and tdh+/trh− strains in the coastal bays. The temperature discrepancy between water and oyster tissue suggests that South Puget Sound pathogenic strains flourish with exposure to relatively warm air during low tide. These findings identify new ecological risk factors for vibriosis in Washington State that can be used in future prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141650
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume752
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021

Keywords

  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Thermolabile hemolysin
  • Thermostable direct hemolysin
  • Thermostable direct-related hemolysin
  • Water temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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