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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Health Reports

Aquatic Toxins Program

For information on areas with potential for respiratory impacts, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web site.

For additional information on where respiratory irritation has been reported, visit Mote Marine’s Beach Conditions Reporting System visitbeaches.org.

  • Red Tide Weekly Report
  • Blue-green Algae Weekly Report

Red tide health effects

Weekly report for November 11 to November 17, 2018 (week 46)

Most human health effects caused by exposure to red tide (caused by Karenia brevis) are mild (e.g., irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat) and go away without the need for medical treatment. If you are experiencing mild health effects from red tide, please contact your Florida poison control center at 800-222-1222 to report your illness. If you have more serious symptoms, please see your health care provider for evaluation.

Visits to emergency departments in Florida with reported exposure to red tide or algae increased beginning at the end of July 2018. Last week (starting November 11), the number of visits decreased substantially.

This figure shows  the number of emergency department visits  for red tide for 2018. The number of visits starts increasing in week 31 (starting July 29) with 14 visits. The number of visits peaked in week 40 (starting September 23) with 28 visits. Four visits were identified last week (starting November 11).

Four emergency department visits with reported exposure to red tide or algae occurred statewide last week (starting November 11). This was well below than the 4-week average of 13 visits per week.

This figure shows that there were 4 visits last week (starting November 11), an average of 13 visits per week over the previous 4 weeks, and an average of 5 visits per week this year.

Last week (starting November 11), 4 emergency department visits noting red tide or algae exposure occurred in 4 counties around the state. Note that counties shown reflect where the emergency department visit occurred, not necessarily where the exposure to red tide occurred.

This map shows that the 4 emergency department visits from last week (starting November 11) occurred in 4 counties, including Bay (1), Seminole (1), Indian River (1), and Lee (1).

Last week (starting November 11), the percentage of emergency department visits due to respiratory illness in the impacted counties (13.4%) was consistent with percentages for the same weeks in 2016 (12.4%) and 2017 (13.2%). Counties included here are Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Gulf, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties. The graph provides a year-over-year comparison that is useful in determining whether increased respiratory visits are occurring during this red tide algal bloom.

This graph has 3 lines  that show the percent of all emergency department visits that were due to respiratory illness. There is a line for 2016, 2017, and 2018.  The line for 2018  is very similar to the lines for 2016 and 2017 and the point for last week (starting November 11) falls just above the 2017 value.

In Florida, the number of red tide exposure calls to Florida poison control centers has increased since the end of July 2018. Last week (starting November 11), the number of calls remained low.

This figure shows the number of calls related to red tide received by poison control center calls in 2018. The number started increasing in week 30 (starting July 22) with 11 calls received. The number of visits peaked in week 40 (starting September 23) with 45 calls. Three calls were identified last week (starting November 11).

Three red tide exposure calls were received by Florida poison control centers last week (starting November 11). An average of 10 calls were received weekly for the previous 4 weeks.

This figure shows that there were 3 calls last week (starting November 11), an average of 10 calls per week over the previous 4 weeks, and an average of 7 calls per week this year.

Last week (starting November 11), there were 3 red tide exposure calls Florida poison control centers. Callers were from Pinellas (1) and Sarasota (2) counties.

This map shows 3 calls last week (starting November 11) in 2 counties, including Pinellas (1) and Sarasota (2) counties.

Explanation of emergency department data

The Florida Department of Health collects near-real time data from almost all the hospital emergency departments in the state (259 out of 261). Counts presented in red tide figures (excluding the respiratory visit graph) include only visits for which the hospital noted that the patient was exposed to red tide or algae. Therefore, these red tide figures undercount the true number of red tide-related visits to Florida’s emergency departments. The map corresponds to the county of the hospital where the patient visit occurred, which is not necessarily the county where the exposure to red tide occurred.

The graph showing all respiratory illness visits is included to assess whether there is an overall increase in the percent of emergency department visits due to respiratory illness during this algal bloom. The graph captures respiratory illness visits due to many reasons, including red tide-related visits, regardless of whether exposure to red tide was noted in the medical record.

Explanation of Florida poison control centers data

There are three poison control centers in Florida. Calls are received from the public and medical facilities. The above data represent people who report being exposed to red tide by the caller’s county or the medical facility’s county. Callers who were only seeking information (e.g., about the location of red tide) are not included in these statistics.


This report is updated weekly

Report last updated: 11/19/2018

Blue-green algae health effects

Weekly report for November 11 to November 17, 2018 (week 46)

Human health effects caused by exposure to blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are very rare. At high levels of exposure, such as when domestic animals drink untreated surface water with thick cyanobacteria blooms, cyanotoxins can cause significant health impacts. However, cyanotoxins do not aerosolize to significant amounts and exposure via inhalation is not a risk to the general public.

Information on how to keep your family safe while enjoying Florida’s waterways.

If you are experiencing mild health effects from possible exposure to blue-green algae, please contact your Florida poison control center at 800-222-1222. If you have more serious symptoms, please see your health care provider for evaluation.

The terms “blue green algae” and “cyanobacter” are not found in the statewide emergency department data; therefore, those data are not presented here. Please see the poison control centers call data for health complaints associated with blue-green algae.

In Florida, the number of blue-green algae exposure calls to Florida poison control centers increased starting in late July. No calls were received last week (starting November 11).

This figure shows  the number of calls related to blue-green algae received by poison control center calls in 2018. The number started increasing in week 28 (starting July 8) with 5 calls received. The number of calls peaked in week 40 (starting September 23) with 13 calls. No calls were identified last week (starting November 11).

No calls reporting blue-green algae exposure were received by Florida by poison control centers last week (starting November 11). The overall call volume increase was moderate, but has decreased in recent weeks with only 1 call over the previous 4 weeks.

This figure shows that there were no calls last week (starting November 11), an average of 0.3 calls per week over the previous 4 weeks, and an average of 1.3 calls per week this year.

Last week (starting November 11), no blue-green algae exposure calls were received by Florida poison control centers.

This map shows that the no calls occurred last week (starting November 11).

Explanation of Florida Poison Information Center Network (FPICN) data

There are three Poison Information Centers in Florida. Calls are received from the public and medical facilities. The above data represent people who report being exposed to blue-green algae by the caller’s county or the medical facility’s county. Callers who were only seeking information (e.g., about the location of blue-green algae) are not included in these statistics.


Updated Weekly

Last updated: 11/19/2018