A Health Alert has been issued over blue-green algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee.
A water sample taken last week showed high levels of the toxin in two areas inside Palm Beach County.
The public is cautioned not to get into the water or use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
What is blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.
Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients. Blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.
Is it harmful?
Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals.
For additional information on potential health effects of algal blooms, visit www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.