Climate change and the emergence of Vibrio vulnificus disease in Israel

S. Paz, N. Bisharat, E. Paz, O. Kidar, D. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1996, a major unexplained outbreak of systemic Vibrio vulnificus infection erupted among Israeli fish market workers. The origins of this emergent infectious disease have not been fully understood. A possible link between climate change and disease emergence is being investigated. Meteorological service data from 1981, the earliest detection and reporting of V. vulnificus for the time in Israel, to 1998 for two stations located within the main inland fish farm industry were analyzed. The 1996-1998 summers were identified as the hottest ever recorded in Israel in the previous 40 years. Time series of monthly minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures showed significant increase in the summer temperatures along the 18 years. The highest minimum temperature value was recorded in summer 1996. Lag correlation analysis revealed significant correlations between temperature values and hospital admission dates. The eruption appeared 25-30 days after the extreme heat conditions in summer 1996, at a lag of 3 weeks in summer 1997 while the results for 1998 were at a lag of less than a week. Higher significant results were detected for the daily minimum temperatures in summer 1996 compatible with the disease eruption. These findings suggest that high water temperature might have impacted the ecology of our study area and caused the emergence of the disease, as an effect of global climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Climate change
  • Emergence
  • Global warming
  • Israel
  • Vibrio vulnificus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science (all)


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