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Medium levels of Karenia brevis caused fish kills on Siesta Key in January. There were no signs of the organism near any Siesta beaches in recent samples.
Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 4 years ago

South County beaches show signs of red tide

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

The Sarasota County Health Department (SCHD) has reported signs of red tide near south county beaches.

Water samples collected by SCHD and analyzed by Mote Marine Laboratory this week show medium levels of Karenia brevis (K. brevis), the organism that causes Florida's red tide, near Manasota Beach and Blind Pass. Those levels can lead to fish kills and respiratory irritation, according to the Oct. 28 report.

"For most of the year we've seen background or low levels," said Sarasota County Environmental Health Administrator Tom Higginbotham.

Those with asthma or seasonal allergies could have respiratory issues at Manasota Beach or Blind Pass.

"I wouldn't be surprised if people notice some effects on south county beaches," Higginbotham said.

The samples from both beaches barely breached the medium level with a little more than 100 K. brevis cells per milliliter. Tests that show 10 to 100 cells per milliliter qualify as low concentration, while samples with 100 to 1,000 cells per milliliter comprise the medium level. Four other south county beaches tested with low levels of the organism.

"Our hope is that it does't expand and that this moves with currents away from our area," Higginbotham said. "But thats why we test it weekly so we can keep abreast of any changes."

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