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Red Tide Top Ten Facts

  1. In Florida, red tide is caused by a microscopic alga (a plant-like microorganism) called Karenia brevis or K. Brevis.

  2. The organism produces a toxin that can affect the central nervous system of fish, birds, mammals and other animals.

  3. At high concentrations (called blooms), the organism may discolor the water - sometimes red, light or dark green, brown or clear.

  4. Red tides or harmful algal blooms occur worldwide. K. brevis is found almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico but has been found on the east coast of Florida and off the coast of North Carolina.

  5. Red tide blooms can last days, weeks, or months and can also change daily due to wind conditions. Offshore winds normally bring it near the shore and onshore winds drive it out to sea.

  6. Red tide was first officially recorded in Florida in 1844.

  7. A red tide bloom needs biology, (the organisms), chemistry (natural or man-made nutrients for growth) and physics (concentrating and transport mechanism). No one factor causes it. Tests are being conducted to see if coastal nutrients enhance or prolong blooms.

  8. Report fish kills to Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) at 1-800-636-0511. Check current red tide status information by county at www.floridamarine.org

  9. To learn more about red tide go to www.RedTideOnline.com or view four streaming videos online at www.Start1.com

  10. Red tide health hotline is a free 24/7 service staffed by medical professionals. Call 1-888-232-8635.

This is a scaled down version
of our main environmental health site. For more detailed information please visit our main site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chd/volusia/EH/index.html