This is a rather lengthy article, snipped for space. It raises some serious questions about pathogenic bacteria growing in the Gulf. It's been found on the oil droplets, so it's in the water.
Some bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico love eating oil as much as they like infecting humans.
A close relative of the bacteria infamous for seafood contaminations that often lead to fatal disease, the microbe Vibrio parahaemolyticus, is common in warm coastal waters like the Gulf. The long comma-shaped bacteria, slurped down with raw oysters, brings twisting cramps and nausea to 4,500 American shellfish aficionados each year.
<snip> One of the more pressing questions involves Vibrios, which, until the oil spill, were one of the primary threats to the region’s vital shellfish business. While parahaemolyticus rarely causes serious disease, another Vibrio species, vulnificus, kills dozens of Americans each year, largely through seafood contamination. The disease, only recently discovered, has caused fierce debate between health officials and local Gulf politicians over raw oysters, the primary carriers of the disease.
But unlike some of its finicky peers, V. parahaemolyticus has a deep thirst for crude oil. “You can feed it exclusively oil,” and it will thrive, said Jay Grimes, marine microbiologist at the University of Southern Mississippi.
So far, hard evidence is scant. Grimes recently examined an oiled water sample taken by the research ship Pelican. The oil, likely exposed to dispersant, was finely divided. Using gene-staining technology, Grimes discovered several microbes attached to the droplet. Now glowing blue, they had been gorging. At least one was a Vibrio.