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Officials: Red tide detected in parts of lower, middle Tampa Bay

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Posted at 11:27 PM, Jun 03, 2021

Health officials in Hillsborough County are advising people about red tide detected in parts of lower and middle Tampa Bay.

According to the FWC, the red tide organism Karenia brevis is persisting in Southwest Florida. This week it was detected in low to very low samples in Hillsborough and Manatee Counties in lower and middle Tampa Bay. The agency’s sampling map also shows medium concentrations detected in the lower part of the bay.

“We don’t know what causes red tide to occur it’s just part of the ecosystem here. But we do understand that relationship between high nutrient concentrations and then you get those increasing levels of red tide to the point where you hit bloom conditions, which is unfortunately what we’re seeing in some parts of Tampa Bay,” said Maya Burke, the assistant director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program helps monitor the water.

“Right now we’re seeing periodic hits of Karenia brevis red tide at low to very low levels but now what we’re seeing is that intensification up in the bay in those areas directly adjacent to Port Manatee. So we’re at medium concentrations there so we’re hitting that bloom threshold,” said Burke.

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County put out an advisory Thursday notifying people of high alert levels of K. brevis near Moody Point and Manbirtee Key, and health caution levels near Camp Key and Little Cockroach Island.

The notification states:

“Some people may have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. Some individuals with breathing problems such as asthma might experience more severe symptoms. Usually symptoms go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors. Health officials recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.”