Five states issue health advisories for beaches, Florida declares emergency from Toxic Algae

By Kami Klein

Five states have issued health advisories and have closed beaches ahead of the 4th of July holiday weekend.  According to an article from The Weather Channel,  officials in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama report that bacteria levels are high and “no swim” orders have been issued for many beaches along these states. None of these advisories are related to the Vibrio bacteria, commonly referred to as “flesh eating bacteria.”

Texas has 15 beaches with high or medium levels of bacteria, Louisiana with a dozen under advisory, Mississippi and Alabama each with one.  Florida issued a “no swim” order for eight beaches along the coast due to bacteria and toxic algae.  Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared an emergency due to bright blue-green algae blooms taking over waterways and beaches. The executive order allows state and local governments to take action against the spread of the algal blooms by redirecting the water flow in and out of Lake Okeechobee.

The algae forced Treasure Coast officials to close some beaches in Martin County (insert link)  this week, just days before the Fourth of July holiday weekend and has been spotted in waterways and canals across much of South Florida.

“It’s just been incubating and growing and growing,” Matt Athan, who lives near the St. Lucie River in Stuart, told WPBF. And you can see how thick it is. And the smell is just atrocious.”

Experts also said the toxins in the algae can easily sicken and kill animals, so owners should keep their pets away from the water.  

It is strongly advised by experts to stay clear of the water if an advisory is up or if a beach has been closed.  Stay aware and look for signs for a safe holiday!


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