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Occurrence and distribution of the human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus in a subtropical Gulf of Mexico estuary

  • Erin K. Lipp
  • Cesar Rodriguez-Palacios
  • Joan B. Rose
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 159)

Abstract

Water and sediment samples from Charlotte Harbor, Florida were examined for the autochthonous human pathogen, Vibrio vulnificus, for 1 year (March 1997–February 1998). Within the estuary, mean water column levels of V. vulnificus ranged between 58 CFU/100 ml and 1.21 x 103 CFU/100 ml while sediment levels were up to 2 orders of magnitude greater. Vibrio vulnificus was detected throughout the year in Charlotte Harbor. The highest concentrations (5.14 x 103 CFU/100 ml) of the year were found at warm temperatures and moderate salinities in September. The lowest mean concentration occurred in March at 26 CFU/100 ml. Although concentrations of Vibrio vulnificus were positively correlated with temperature, salinity was a more important factor influencing variability of this organism. In Charlotte Harbor, an optimal salinity of 15 psu (practical salinity units) was found for recovery of high concentrations of the pathogen. There were significant positive and negative correlations above and below 15 psu, respectively. Results from this study suggest that unlike temperate estuaries, in regions of moderate year round temperatures, such as the tropics or subtropics, salinity strongly controls the geographical and seasonal distribution of V. vulnificus between sediment and water column.

Key words

Vibrio vulnificus Gulf of Mexico human pathogen bacteria disease microbial ecology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin K. Lipp
    • 1
  • Cesar Rodriguez-Palacios
    • 2
  • Joan B. Rose
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Marine ScienceUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.Resource Management DivisionSarasota CountySarasotaUSA

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