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Unified Pathogen Control One Health Approach Specifically Targeting Vibrio (UPCOAST-V)

Regional Priorities Partnership Program (RP3)
Fisheries and Aquaculture
Genome Centre(s):
Genome British Columbia
Project Leader(s):
Linda Hoang (The University of British Columbia), Katie Eloranta (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a bacterium naturally found in the coastal waters of BC. Vp causes wound infections through recreational water exposure and gastroenteritis through consumption of raw and undercooked seafood. The incidence of Vp in BC has been increasing since 2006, culminating in a large outbreak in 2015. The increase may be related to global warming, changes in post-harvest handling procedures or virulence factors in circulating Vp strains. Traditional epidemiological methods limited the ability to identify the sources of Vp, thus outbreak control measures were applied to the entire BC oyster industry with ensuing negative financial impacts. Genomic-based measures are required to delineate the source of Vp outbreaks, as well as understand risk factors leading to clinical disease. We propose the Unified Pathogen Control One Health Approach Specifically Targeting Vibrio (UPCOAST-V), a program that will bring together the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory (PHL) and CFIA to sequence the genomes of 650 clinical and environmental Vp isolates. These genomes will form a detailed picture of Vp in BC since 1998, helping to identify antibiotic resistance determinants, virulence markers, and the relationship between organisms in the environment and human infection. We will use metagenomics to assess the composition of the oyster bacterial microbiome and potential interactions influencing Vp populations in association with temperature from harvest through a simulated supply chain. Data sharing and analysis pipelines will be established between the BCCDC PHL and CFIA to facilitate ongoing surveillance: in year two, clinical data for Vp isolates from hospitals and Lifelabs will be linked with whole genome sequencing results. This will directly meet the needs and mandates of BCCDC and CFIA to protect human health and ensure the production of safe food. Collectively, UPCOAST-V will capture the current state of Vp in BC and lead to the prevention of economic disruption and disease.