JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Duval County issued an alert for a harmful algae bloom in the St. Johns River.
Water samples taken on Sept. 21 show the presence of harmful toxins, prompting the alert.
The public should exercise caution in and around the St. Johns River, as well as in and around the following locations:
- St. Johns River – Lions Club Boat Ramp
- St. Johns River – St Johns Marina
- St. Johns River – Canal to Marco Lake
- St. Johns River – Mouth of Craig Creek
- St. Johns River – Mouth of Goodbys Creek
- St. Johns River – Yacht Basin, near Ortega
- St. Johns River – South end Hart Bridge
- St. Johns River – at Worth Dr. S
- St. Johns River – Christopher Creek – below San Jose Blvd.
- St. Johns River – Mandarin Point
Blue-green algae is a type of bacteria that is typically found in warm, freshwater environments, according to the Florida Department of Health. Exposure to toxins produced by the bacteria can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, blue-green algae can also affect the liver and nervous system.
The toxins can also harm or kill animals too, including household pets. If you think your pet has come in contact with blue-green algae, it is important you call a vet as soon as possible.
It is important to never swim in water with blue-green algae. The algae will typically be blue, bright green, brown or red, and can have a strong odor like rotting plants, the Department of Health says.
If you think you have contacted blue-green algae, bathe with water and soap as soon as possible.
It is also important to keep an eye out for any boil notice or other warnings from the Department of Health to ensure the safety of the drinking water.