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sector_ico_Fisheries_trans Fisheries and Aquaculture

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

  • Project Leaders: Linda Hoang, Katie Eloranta
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $498010
  • Program/Competition: Sector Innovation Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2019
  • Status: Closed

Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp), a bacterium naturally found in the coastal waters, is the predominant cause of acute gastroenteritis in BC through the consumption of raw and undercooked seafood, especially contaminated oysters. Due to various factors including global warming and changes in post-harvest handling procedures, the incidence of Vp in BC has been increasing for over a decade, culminating in a large outbreak in 2015, with hundreds of infections and halted sales of BC oysters. Better tools are needed to detect outbreaks early, limit economic disruption and prevent human disease.

The UPCOAST-V team, consisting of researchers from BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), will sequence the genomes of clinical and environmental Vp isolates collected at CFIA over the last 20 years to establish a detailed One Health view of Vp in BC, helping to identify antibiotic resistance determinants, virulence markers, and the relationship between organisms in the environment and human infection. The project will also 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 and CFIA to facilitate ongoing surveillance.

The tools developed by UPCOAST-V will have direct impact on our collective ability in BC to track, monitor and mitigate the effects of Vp, to provide British Columbians and Canadians with safer seafood, and to allow for rapid mitigation, thereby preventing illnesses and resultant economic impacts to the shellfish industry. Furthermore, the relationships forged among key stakeholders in this project are critical to helping achieve a long-lasting One Health approach to improving food safety and protecting public health in BC.