Environmental suitability of vibrio infections in a warming climate: An early warning system

Jan C. Semenza, Joaquin Trinanes, Wolfgang Lohr, Bertrand Sudre, Margareta Löfdahl, Jaime Martinez-Urtaza, Gordon L. Nichols, Joacim Rocklöv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (SciVal)


BACKGROUND: Some Vibrio spp. are pathogenic and ubiquitous in marine waters with low to moderate salinity and thrive with elevated sea surface temperature (SST). 

OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to monitor and project the suitability of marine conditions for Vibrio infections under climate change scenarios. 

METHODS: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) developed a platform (the ECDC Vibrio Map Viewer) to monitor the environmental suitability of coastal waters for Vibrio spp. using remotely sensed SST and salinity. A case-crossover study of Swedish cases was conducted to ascertain the relationship between SST and Vibrio infection through a conditional logistic regression. Climate change projections for Vibrio infections were developed for Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5. 

RESULTS: The ECDC Vibrio Map Viewer detected environmentally suitable areas for Vibrio spp. in the Baltic Sea in July 2014 that were accompanied by a spike in cases and one death in Sweden. The estimated exposure–response relationship for Vibrio infections at a threshold of 16° C revealed a relative risk (RR) =1:14 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.27; p =0:024) for a lag of 2 wk; the estimated risk increased successively beyond this SST threshold. Climate change projections for SST under the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios indicate a marked upward trend during the summer months and an increase in the relative risk of these infections in the coming decades. 

CONCLUSIONS: This platform can serve as an early warning system as the risk of further Vibrio infections increases in the 21st century due to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107004
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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