Vol 72, No 4 (2021)
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Published online: 2021-12-30

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First report of the presence of Vibrio vulnificus in the Gulf of Gdansk

Monika Kurpas1, Małgorzata Michalska1, Arkadiusz Zakrzewski2, Katarzyna Zorena1
Pubmed: 35147210
IMH 2021;72(4):247-251.


Background: Vibrio infections are becoming more frequent in the Baltic Sea region, which is caused by an increase in the sea surface temperature. Climate change creates the conditions for the emergence of new environmental niches that are beneficial for Vibrio spp., especially in the summer months. Vibrio vulnificus, which causes wound infections and septicaemia, represents a particularly dangerous species of Vibrio spp. There are numerous publications on the prevalence of V. vulnificus in various regions of the Baltic Sea, but there is a lack of such data for the Polish coast. This prompted us to conduct a pilot study into the prevalence of the bacteria in the Gulf of Gdansk. The study aimed to detect Vibrio spp. in the coastal waters and the wet sand at the beaches and bathing areas in the Gulf of Gdansk.
Materials and methods: During the period from June 16th to September 23rd 2020, 112 samples of seawater and 105 samples of wet sand were collected at 16 locations along the coast of the Gulf of Gdansk and Hel peninsula. Isolation of Vibrio spp. was conducted by filtering method and the isolated bacteria was cultured on CHROM agar Vibrio and TCBS agar. Final genus identification was performed by the MALDI TOF technique.
Results: In the present study, 10 isolates of Vibrio spp. were obtained from seawater and wet sand samples collected in the Gulf of Gdansk and Hel peninsula coast. Three of the isolates were identified as V. vulnificus; the presence of the species was confirmed in the seawater samples which had been collected in Hel (1 isolate), Jastarnia (1 isolate), and Chalupy (1 isolate). One strain of Vibrio alginolyticus was isolated from the seawater sample collected in Hel. Moreover, identification was incomplete for 6 of the isolated strains, these were identified as Vibrio cholerae/mimicus These strains were collected in Jastarnia (1 isolate), Kuznica (1 isolate), Gdansk-Brzezno (1 isolate), Puck (2 isolates), Chalupy (1 isolate).
Conclusions: Our preliminary research study confirmed the presence of potentially pathogenic V. vulnificus in the Gulf of Gdansk in the summer months. Therefore, further monitoring of the presence of Vibrio spp. in the Baltic coast area is necessary.

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