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Study links global warming to rise in waterborne illnesses

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WASHINGTON — A new study clearly connects rising temperatures to increases in waterborne food-poisonings and other infections.

About a dozen species of vibrio (VIB’-ree-oh) bacteria make people sick from eating raw or undercooked seafood, particularly oysters, or drinking or swimming in tainted water. It also causes cholera, although that disease was not included in the research, which focused on Europe and North America.

Study lead author Rita Colwell of the University of Maryland says researchers had indirectly linked climate change to more illnesses from the bacteria. Using DNA, a 50-year database of plankton, water temperatures and disease reports, she shows a more comprehensive connection.

The study is in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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