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Development of an early warning and information system for the occurrence of vibrios in coastal bathing waters


This third-party funded project is conducted in the framework of the BfR research programme on exposure estimation and the assessment of biological risks..

BMUB grant number: 3716622030

Project description:

The aim of this project under direction of the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) in Koblenz is to determine the occurrence and distribution of Vibrio vulnificus and other human pathogenic vibrios in bathing waters in relation to temperature, zooplankton and salinity. A monitoring programme is being carried out which is adapted temporally and spatially to the occurrence of human pathogenic vibrios. In particular the findings from the project “Climate-related changes in water hygiene and effects on dredged material management in coastal waters”, which was conducted within the scope of the BMVI research project KLIWAS (“Impact of climate change on waterways and navigation in Germany - Searching for options of adaptation”) from 2009 - 2013, were taken into consideration. Water and microbial samples, which can serve as a reservoir for vibrios, are being examined. In addition to classical cultural methods, cultivation-independent methods such as PMA-qPCR and MALDI-TOF are being used to detect vibrios. In addition to this, the presence of pathogenity factors of Vibrio vulnificus is being examined by PCR in order to clarify their epidemiological relevance. Other environmental parameters, such as temperature and salinity, are being recorded in order to characterise more closely the functional connection between the occurrence of vibrios in bathing water and these parameters. From the results of these investigations and under consideration of past experiences, independent findings and literature data, an early warning system for the occurrence of vibrios, in particular Vibrio vulnificus, in coastal and estuarine bathing waters will be implemented and verified by experimental studies. Furthermore, an information system for physicians is to be developed for Germany which underscores the problem of possible vibrio infections and points out necessary actions in hot summers.

BfR part of the project: The BfR is investigating potentially pathogenic vibrios within the scope of the tasks performed by the “National Reference Laboratory for the Monitoring the Viral and Bacteriological Contamination of Bivalve Molluscs”. In this third party-funded project the BfR is carrying out the diagnostics of the environmental isolates..

Project partners:

  • German Federal Institute of Hydrology (coordination)


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