Health Alert: Florida Dept. of Health in Osceola issues warning about toxic algae in Kissimmee River

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health is warning residents and visitors to use caution around the Kissimmee River after tests revealed the presence of toxins from blue-green algae blooms.

Specifically, they’re referring to the areas south of State Road 60.

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According to the Department of Health, samples taken on August 12 carried traces of the harmful toxins.

They’re advising people to avoid drinking or swimming in water where there is a visible algae bloom.

Algae blooms are quite dangerous for animals as well, so they advise keeping pets and livestock away from the area and providing a different source of water for them.

They warn that boiling the water will not kill blue-algae toxins, so it’s additionally unsafe to cook or clean dishes with contaminated water.

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In the case of physical contact with contaminated, discolored, or foul-smelling water, it’s important to wash the skin and clothing with soap and water.

To report an algae bloom, call the Florida Department of Environmental Services at 855-305-3903. DEP collects and analyzes algal bloom samples.

Algae blooms form when rapidly growing algae accumulates, oftentimes changing the color of the water and leading to floating mats that can have a foul odor.

The growth can be fueled by warm water temperatures, still waters, and excess nutrients.

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Blooms can form year-round but occur more frequently in the summer and fall.

For more information on the potential health effects of algal blooms, click here.

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