Botulism Outbreaks Essay

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What are the causes of, and outlooks for, type E avian botulism outbreaks in the Laurentian Great Lakes?? There is no doubt that the specific issue of botulism outbreaks in the Laurentian Great Lakes has become a pressing one, not only to the government, but also to individuals. Botulism is a disease caused by several strains bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which produce many spores persisting in sediments and soils as well as inside of healthy animals in Great Lakes area (Campbell. 2003). These spores are quite resistant to extreme surroundings and thus can maintain in the ecosystem for a long time (Campbell. 2003). Once the living conditions are favorable, namely few oxygen, sufficient nutrient and suitable PH and temperature, the spores germinate and bacteria enter the vegetative life stage, producing botulism toxin (Boere etal. 2006). It is reported that botulism toxin acts on neuromuscular systems of both birds and fish, leading to paralysis. As a consequence, other problems, such as muscle weakness and respiratory failure, occur, which can give rise to the death of infected animals (Lafrancois, 2011). There are several potential pathways for botulism toxin to go into food chain in Great Lakes ecosystem. One of the possible routes for botulism transmission is the carcase-maggot cycle (Boere et al. 2006). Containing botulism, dead birds and fish provide food sources for maggot, and then the seabirds may ingest the toxins when they feed on infected maggots. Another transmission pathway results from invasive species. Some invasive species may infect botulism themselves, others might facilitate the transport of toxin and obviously accumulate it in different trophic levels (Getchell and Bowser, 2006). Dreissenid mussels play a critical role in botulism transmission. Cladophora alga in lakes grow dramatically due to improvement of the sunlight

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