Blue-green algae bloom detected at Shands Bridge on the St. Johns River

·2 min read

If you are planning to head out to the water on the St. Johns River this weekend, pay attention to a newly issued health warning.

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The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County has issued a health alert for harmful blue-green algal toxins at the Shands Bridge on the St. Johns River.

Surface water samples were collected and analyzed on Sept. 13. The Florida Department of Health says the public should exercise caution in and around this area.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.

  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.

  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.

  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.

  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.

  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

According to the Florida Department of Health, a “health alert” for blue-green algae is triggered by the presence of any detectable level of cyanotoxin in a sample collected from a Florida water body (saltwater, freshwater, and brackish water bodies).

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Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when factors such as sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients might be present.

For additional information on potential health effects of algal blooms and their effects on the environment and human health, visit www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.

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