With the dangerous algae blooms heading north along the coast, we bring you the most recent updates of the ecological disaster
Original article can be found here
Southwest Florida continues to battle with red tide, toxic algae blooms that have killed wildlife and sickened humans.
Testing by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows a bloom of the red tide organism Karenia brevis persists along the southwest Florida coast. Higher concentrations were found in Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, with Pinellas and Manatee reporting algae at background levels.
The red tide level shows counts of 1 million cells per liter and higher along the Southwest Florida coast; fish kills and breathing issues in humans can occur when levels reach 10,000 cells per liter, the News Press reported.
Incidents of respiratory irritation in people – a common condition reported by people exposed to red tide- were reported in numerous southwest Florida counties. More than 15 people have been taken to emergency rooms as a result of problems caused by the red tide.
The commission said fish kills and deaths of marine life were reported Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties.
The red tide started in October 2017 and will likely persists and spread, experts said. It is the longest outbreak since 2006.
“There’s no real way to know how far north the red tide is going to go. It all depends on local ocean currents and wind,” meteorologist Greg Dee told ABC Action News.
The National Weather Service said the algae blooms have been linked to coughing, sneezing and eye irritation in humans. Coming in contact with the algae can also cause nausea, vomiting and, in rare cases, acute liver failure. People with respiratory illnesses may be more sensitive to the conditions and are advised to avoid red tide areas, especially at times when the wind is blowing and toxins could be blown onshore.
According to the Florida Department of Public Health, shellfish that are harvested from areas with active red tides should not be eaten.
Going to the beach? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Research Institute provides updated reports on red tide conditions here.