A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>

Date: Thu 12 Jan 2012
Source: NBC 2 [edited]

Red tide is still lingering off the shores of Lee and Collier counties (Florida). The latest red tide report shows very low to medium concentrations in Pine Island Sound, San Carlos Bay, and inshore Marco Island. It's the 1st week [of 9 Jan 2012] there has been a significant drop in red tide cell concentrations in 2 months.

Despite the low to medium concentrations, animals are being rushed into rehabilitation clinics at an alarming rate. At Sanibel's Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife (CROW), a herring gull is too weak to eat on its own. It is being fed a thick, fish milkshake. Inside the shake is a special nutrient supplement, which will help the bird clear toxins from his bloodstream. Nearby, a pelican undergoes physical therapy because he can hardly stand. The red tide affects the bird's nerves making them lethargic, weak, and loopy.

"We may still see an outbreak for a while because fish will still have that toxin and it'll take them awhile to get rid of it," said heather Barron, CROW clinic director. Last month [December 2011], the clinic was rescuing 7-10 birds a day. Now, that number has dropped to 3-4.

Most birds recover and will be released, but sea turtles aren't as lucky. "Unlike birds who can fly away to areas not impacted by red tide, turtles are where they are," said Tara Wertz, Ding Darling biologist. 10 turtles have washed up on Lee County's shores. Only one survived.

Biologists say they're hopeful the red tide will continue to dissipate, but sunlight is all it takes to cause another flare up.
"It's still in the area and could blow up again any day," said Wertz.

Veterinarians need your help identifying and reporting sick animals.
If you see a turtle on shore this time of year, it's a good indication they're sick. Birds will fall over or spin in circles. If you see a sick bird or turtle, contact Sanibel's Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife.

communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts

[Red tide or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are events in which single-celled protists, dinoflagellates, proliferate rapidly and accumulate in the water column. These events are associated with wildlife mortalities, because under certain circumstances these organisms can produce potent toxins. A systematic increase in seawater temperature may contribute to the occurrence of HABs. Patches of discolored water, dead or dying fish, and respiratory irritants in the air often characterize these algal blooms.

In humans, 2 distinct clinical entities, depending on the route of exposure, are associated with exposure to the Florida red tide toxins (particularly the brevetoxins). With the ingestion of brevetoxin-contaminated shellfish, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning
(NSP) presents as a milder gastroenteritis with neurologic symptoms compared with other marine toxin diseases such as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or ciguatera fish poisoning. With the inhalation of the aerosolized red tide toxins (especially the brevetoxins) from the sea spray, respiratory irritation and possibly other health effects are reported in both humans and other mammals.

Portions of this comment were extracted from <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568988303000696>.

A Florida county map can be seen at
<http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/county-map/florida.shtml>. A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the affected area can be accessed at <http://healthmap.org/r/1AYs>. - Mod.PMB

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:

[see also:
Red tide, fish - USA (04): (FL) 20111231.3720 Red tide, shellfish - USA (02): (TX) oyster 20111216.3608 Red tide, fish - USA (03): (FL) 20111202.3513 Red tide, fish - USA (02): (TX) 20111104.3283 Red tide, fish - USA: (TX) 20111026.3180 Red tide, shellfish - USA: (MA) alert 20110506.1400 2010
Paralytic shellfish poisoning - USA: (ME) warning 20100714.2353] .................................................sb/pmb/mj/sh/ll
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