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Duval Health Department Reminds About Danger Of Blue-Green Algae

Mark Sadowski

The Duval County Health Department is reminding people to avoid algae in the St. Johns River.

Health officials want people to know the dangers of blue-green algae in the St. Johns.

Quinton White is a marine science professor at Jacksonville University. He says the combination of very warm water and fertilizer runoff causes algae to rapidly bloom.

“When you look at it up close it looks like little clumps of green globs sort of floating together, and that’s just the nature of the algae,” White said.

“But these particular algae can make you sick and can lead to liver damage,” he said.

“If you see the water’s green avoid it, don’t swim in it, don’t let your pets around it and don’t eat fish or crabs or shrimp that you’re getting from the algae,” he said.

Public health officials say it’s not possible to tell toxic algae from the harmless kind with the naked eye. They say, as a precaution, people should avoid swallowing lake or river water altogether.

Photo credit: “Blue Green Algae 02” by Mark Sadowski is used under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.