Category Archives: water microbiology

USA – The amount of coastal water that can harbor harmful Vibrio bacteria has spiked 56%. One species is flesh-eating.

Business Insider


The amount of coastal water in which harmful bacteria can live has increased 56% over the past few decades, a report published Wednesday found.

That bacteria family, called Vibrio, lives in salty or brackish coastal waters, including in the US and Canada. The infection it causes, vibriosis, is usually contracted by eating raw or undercooked seafood or by exposing a wound to bacteria-infested seawater. Mild cases resolve in about three days, but Vibrio can also cause severe diseases, including gastroenteritis, life-threatening cholera, dangerous wound infections, and sepsis.

One species of Vibrio bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, is referred to as flesh-eating because the bacteria can aggressively destroy body tissue. Those infections, though rare, often require intensive care or amputation. And they can be fatal, killing one in five infected people, usually within two days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The reasons Vibrio is becoming a greater threat are that sea surface temperatures are rising and seawater is getting saltier. That’s one of many alarming findings from the medical journal The Lancet’s sixth annual report on health and climate change. In it, researchers from academia and the United Nations tracked 44 indicators of health effects linked to climate change.

Korea – Hepatitis A cases doubled in Korea in 2021: KDCA

Korea Biomed

Hepatitis A cases have become prevalent this year, forcing the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) to urge people to follow the guidelines for hepatitis A prevention.

According to the KDCA, the nation reported more than 100 hepatitis A cases per week since the 11th week of 2021. This number is more than two folds from the same period of last year. Especially after the 30th week of July 18-24, the number of hepatitis A patients has been hitting record highs this year, except for the 2019 hepatitis A outbreak.

The majority of hepatitis A patients were aged between 30 and 49. This is probably because people born after 1970 were less exposed to the hepatitis A virus during childhood thanks to improved hygiene, and they did not receive vaccinations. Therefore, they are unlikely to have immunity to hepatitis A, the KDCA said.

Hepatitis A can be transmitted through contaminated water or food. To prevent it, people need to cook foods at a sufficiently high temperature and follow hygiene cooking rules.

Vegetables and fruits must be thoroughly washed or peeled.

The KDCA noted that eating raw shellfish could raise the risk of hepatitis A infection.

The agency recommended that shellfish be cooked at 90 or higher degrees Celsius for at least four months.

Israel – Natural Mineral Spring Water – Pseudomonas aeruginosa

 Neviot recalls Natural Mineral Spring Water (500 ml; Best before 11.10.2022 and 12.10.2022) due to possible Pseudomonas aeruginosa contamination.

Click to access rcl-17102021.pdf

Research – Heatwave-associated Vibrio infections in Germany, 2018 and 2019


Food Illness

The genus , which belongs to the family  and the class , includes many species that are potential human pathogens [1].  is a highly diverse species that consists of more than 200 serogroups [2]. Strains within the serogroups O1 and O139 produce cholera toxin and are the causative agents of endemic and epidemic cholera, which represent an important cause of morbidity and mortality in countries with inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities [3].  strains not included in these serogroups as well as other  spp. are referred to as non-cholera  spp. and are ubiquitous aquatic bacteria with a worldwide distribution, especially in warm estuarine and marine ecosystems [2]. These halophilic bacteria prefer low to moderate salinity (less than 25 parts per thousand (ppt) NaCl) [4]. The abundance of  spp. in marine and estuarine waters closely corresponds with the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) since they proliferate in warm water [5]. Thus, regional variations in environmental conditions are paramount importance in understanding the ecology of  spp.

Human infections with non-cholera  spp. can manifest as wound infections, ear infections, gastroenteritis, and primary septicaemia and have been predominantly reported in tropical and subtropical regions [6]. In Europe, cases are rare, and infections associated with the Mediterranean Sea [79], the Atlantic Ocean [1012], or the Baltic Sea [13,14] have only been sporadically reported. However, a rapidly warming marine environment accompanied by an increase in extreme weather events such as heatwaves has resulted in unprecedented peak SSTs favouring the spread of  spp. worldwide. Recently, larger  spp. outbreaks have been reported in temperate regions such as Spain [15], Sweden, and Finland [16]. In Germany,  spp. other than toxigenic  strains were not classified as reportable pathogenic agents before March 2020; to date, only a few cases have been reported and few case series of autochthonous infections have been published [1720]. Over the last decades, resistance to various antibiotics, including to ampicillins, tetracyclines, and carbapenems, has emerged among  spp [21,22]. As a result of resistant isolates, the monitoring of antibiotic profiles of clinical and environmental  spp. has become of increasing importance. However, information on the number of human cases and the abundance of  spp. in coastal waters is scarce in most other European countries.

When we became aware of a high number of human infections with virulent  strains contracted in the Baltic Sea during the summer months of 2018 and 2019 (data not shown), we decided to conduct an observational retrospective multi-centre cohort study of domestically-acquired  infections. This study describes the epidemiology and the clinical impact of those infections and assesses antibiotic resistance patterns and phylogenetic relationships among clinical isolates. To determine the association between  infections and SST anomalies, we analysed the degree of warming in the south-western Baltic Sea, where the majority of the infections occurred.

ECDC -Cryptosporidiosis – Annual Report 2018

Click to access CRYP_AER_2018_Report.pdf

UK – Kent E-Coli warning: SES Water issue update on contaminated water

Kent Live

A precautionary boil notice was earlier issued after E-coli was found at 443 postcodes

Tap water in thousands of Kent and Surrey homes has been deemed safe to drink following the lifting of a precautionary boil notice.

On Friday, SES water advised customers to boil all drinking water after the deadly E-coli bacteria was discovered during routine tests.

Teams were immediately called to restore the water supplies to their normal standards which has now been achieved.

USA- Boil water order issued for 4 Mass. towns after E. coli detection

Four towns on the South Coast of Massachusetts are under a boil water order after E. coli was detected in their water source.

The Mattapoisett River Valley Water District sent out the order on Wednesday, saying it was notified of the positive E. coli results in routine samples collected Tuesday, WCVB reported. The boil water order affects Mattapoisett, Fairhaven, Rochester, and Marion.

Per the order, any ice, drinks, formula, and uncooked foods prepared with water on or before Tuesday should be discarded, WCVB reported. The district has begun temporary chlorination of the water and will flush the system over the next few days. More samples will be collected Thursday, and residents will be informed when tests show no E. coli is present.

UK – E. coli scare: People in Oxted told to boil drinking water


People in parts of Surrey are being told to boil their water before drinking it over fears it could contain E. coli.

Hundreds of postcodes in the Oxted area have been affected.

SES Water said an issue was discovered during routine tests, and “our teams are working to investigate the problem and restore supplies to their usual high standards”.

The scale of the contamination has not yet been confirmed.

The water company is awaiting further test results.

In the meantime people in the area are being told to boil all water and let it cool before using it for drinking, preparing food or cleaning their teeth.

Pets should also be given boiled tap water.

Boiled water can be kept in the fridge, and should be covered and used within 24 hours.

Research – Cryptosporidiosis – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2018


Executive summary

  • For 2018, 20 European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries reported 14 299 cryptosporidiosis cases, of which 14 252 were confirmed.
  • The notification rate was 4.4 confirmed cases per 100 000 population.
  • Four countries accounted for 76% of all confirmed cases, with the United Kingdom (UK) alone accounting for 41%.
  • As in previous years, most of the cases were reported in autumn (peak in September), but in 2018 a smaller peak was also observed in spring (April).
  • Children aged 0–4 years had the highest notification rate of 15.8 cases per 100 000 population.

Click to access CRYP_AER_2018_Report.pdf

USA – More than 1,200 customers of Monterey Water Company told to boil water before use

NM Political Report

More than 1,200 water users in Valencia County have been asked to boil their water after E. coli bacteria was discovered in a routine sample.

These customers receive their water from Monterey Water Company. The New Mexico Environment Department instructed the utility to issue a boil water advisory on Oct. 2, according to a press release.

E. coli is commonly found in the intestines of both humans and other animals and NMED states that the bacteria’s presence in water indicates that it may have been in contact with sewage or animal waste.

A sample that tests positive for the bacteria can indicate the presence of dangerous strains of E. coli or other organisms that can cause water-borne illness, the press release states. Symptoms of water-borne illnesses include gastrointestinal problems and, in rare instances, these illnesses can be deadly. Sensitive populations including children, senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems have increased risk of contracting these illnesses.

When a boil water advisory is issued, the customers in the affected area are encouraged to boil their water for three minutes prior to drinking it or using it to make coffee, tea, other drinks or ice. The water should also be boiled before using it for cooking, washing fruits and vegetables or brushing teeth. Additionally, residents should boil the water before using it to prepare infant formula or to provide drinking water to pets.

The boil water advisory only affects customers who receive water from Monterey Water Company. Other surrounding areas are not impacted.

Boil water advisories usually last for a few days. For example, residents in the Lovington area were under a boil water advisory for approximately three days in January after E. coli was found in the Lovington Municipal Water Supply.

Monterey Water Company is a privately-owned water utility that has been serving customers in Valencia County since the 1980s. The company was formed to provide water to Monterey Mobile Home Estates and Monterey Park units two and three. These subdivisions are located southeast of Los Lunas.

The utility has two active wells that it uses for groundwater and does not use any surface water.

This is not the first time that E. coli has been detected in the Monterey Water Company’s system. According to the New Mexico Drinking Water Bureau’s Drinking Water Watch databaseE. coli was also detected in 2020 and in 2014.