WKRG, Nov. 5, 2013: [Doctor Cova Arias, professor of aquatic microbiology at Auburn University and vibrio vulnificus expert] set out to discover if vibrio were present in tar balls. She was highly surprised by what she found as she studied tar on the Alabama and Mississippi coasts. “What was clear to us was that the tar balls contain a lot of vibrio vulnificus,” said Arias. […] “In general, (the tar balls) are like a magnet for bacteria,” said Arias. […] “What we also found was in water, the numbers were about ten times higher than the numbers that have reported before from that area,” said Arias. So the water alone had ten times as much vibrio as before the oil spill […] Doctors who fight infectious diseases, though, say the high levels of vibrio in and around tar balls should be taken seriously by everyone due to the random, but deadly, nature of bacteria. “It can be very little exposure,” said Dr. John Vande Waa, an infectious disease specialist at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile. “Just the wrong place at the wrong time.” BP disputes any tar ball – vibrio connection. […]
WKRG, Updated Nov. 11, 2013: “The destruction in arms and legs, the flesh eating component, it’s two parts ,” said Vande Waa. “One is that the organism itself can destroy the tissues. The other is sepsis . The bacteria is in their bloodstream, it affects all the organs. Within my own experience of the cases the mortality has been approaching 40-50 percent.” There have been almost two dozen cases of vibrio vulnificus in Alabama over the last five years. There have been more than 30 cases in Florida this year alone including the death of an Escambia County man. Vande Waa says as rare as vibrio vulnificus is, it’s something that should be taken very seriously. And that’s why the research being done by this at Auburn University, and at the school’s lab at Dauphin Island is so disturbing. […]
New York Times, June 17, 2010: One of the more pressing questions involves Vibrios […] vulnificus, kills dozens of Americans each year […] there is a likely possibility, scientists say, that Vibrio growth could be further spurred, directly or indirectly, in response to the oil […] “The question is: Will there be an inadvertent enhancement of the growth of these potential human pathogens?” said Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation and an expert in marine microbial life. […] “There’s no question bacteria, in general, increase following spills, and this includes Vibrios,” said Jim Oliver, a Vibrio specialist at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. […] The ingredients are there for heightened concern, Oliver added. The carcasses of bacteria feeding off the oil will increase overall nutrient levels […] because of the cleanup, more people could be coming into direct contact with the bacteria. “I think that combination could lead to very serious public health concerns,” Oliver said. […] the oysters that survive the crude could see their immune systems weakened […] what if their offspring are weakened? […] The Food and Drug Administration is aware of the Vibrio threat but believes the bacteria’s numbers will decline in parallel with the oil, said Meghan Scott, an FDA spokeswoman. […]
TV: University’s research “is so disturbing” — Large spike in deadly flesh-eating bacteria after BP oil spill in Gulf — Expert: Take it very seriously — It’s “in their bloodstream… affects all organs” (VIDEO).
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