Researchers from the Alaskan Department of Health and Social Services reported this week that rising ocean temperatures appear to have tainted Alasakn
Oysters, contributing towards one of the largest known outbreaks in the USA of the bacterium "Vibrio parahaemolyticus". Four outbreaks of illness
were reported among passenger on a cruise ship who had consumed raw oysters. Most of the passengers had eaten just one oyster, with the bacteria then
taking 12 to 36 hours for symptoms of illness to appear. It was previously believed that Alaskan waters were to cold to support the bacteria's
existence and the researchers were surprised when the outbreaks were traced to an oyster farm 1000 kilometres north of any previous tainted oysters.
Data records for the area show that the temperature had risen gradually since 1976 and the scientists say they can not find a reason for the rise in
He and his colleagues said 62 people fell ill on four week-long cruises in July 2004. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the most common cause of
seafood-related illness in the United States.
Further tests showed that other oyster facilities in Alaska's Kachemak Bay and southeast Alaska had also begun to harbor the bacteria, which is only
believed to grow in oysters where water temperatures are higher than 59 F (15 degrees Celsius).
But many climate experts have warned that warmer ocean waters are a likely consequence of carbon dioxide pollution, which traps heat that would
normally radiate back into space.
Scientists predict that warmer temperatures will generate stronger storms and shift local climate conditions, spreading various illnesses to new
"This is probably some of the best evidence to date that rising temperatures in ocean waters might contribute to the incidence of disease," said
McLaughlin, "so we're definitely very concerned."
Although it is seldom fatal, people with liver disease, diabetes or immune system problems such as AIDS may die from the infection, which killed 20
people in 2004, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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This article serves to further highlight the possibilities that global warming and rising ocean temperatures in fact are a greater danger to the food
chain than the many would believe.
The rising ocean temperatures will cause a chain reaction from the tiniest of plankton up the the largest whale and in turn will affect us humans and
especially those coastal dwellers who sustain their food supply with seafood.
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[edit on 6-10-2005 by Mayet]