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Health Effects of Toxic Algae Bloom

By Craig Tanio, MD, FACP, IFMCP

Governor Rick Scot declared a state of emergency on July 9th in seven Florida counties to combat the toxic green algae bloom caused by water discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Algae blooms that occur in freshwater are dominated by one particular cyanobacteria known as Microcystis. This organism has been around for over 2.5 billion years and produces a biotoxin or cyanotoxin that can cause three types of effects in humans.

  • Acute health effects – Cyanotoxins are highly potent. Swallowing a mouth full of contaminated water could cause serious injury or death due to respiratory arrest or organ failure. Lower level exposures could cause flu-like illness.
  • Chronic health effects – As in ciguatera-seafood poisoning, susceptible individuals may develop a chronic condition after acute illness. Patients who have particle types of HLA DRDQ alleles are at higher risk of chronic illness, which is a type of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Symptoms can range from fatigue to cognitive issues to headaches to eye and skin issues to muscle and joint pains. A rapid way to screen for this is to get a Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test on Surviving Mold.com and send the results to us at Rezilir.
  • Delayed health effects – Little is known about the effects of repeated, low-level exposure, but cancer & neurodegeneration are outcomes implicated in scientific literature.

If you feel that you have been exposed in any way, feel free to contact us at Rezilir Health. We are here to help! 1-866-REZILIR

Reference: Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms: State of the Science and Research Needs. Series: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Vol. 619, Hudnell, H. Kenneth (Ed.)2008, XXIV, 960 p. 80 illus., 17 in color., Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-387-75864-0

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