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CDC Considers Health Impact of Toxic Algae In Okeechobee

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Image courtesy of NASA
The Florida Channel
Satellite photograph of Lake Okeechobee from July 2016, showing a large cyanobacteria algae bloom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering initiating a study into the health effects of high exposure to toxic algae on Lake Okeechobee. 

The study would focus on 50 individuals at least 18 years of age with extensive occupational exposure to toxic blue-green algae or cyanobacteria on Lake Okeechobee.

The participants would undergo medical tests before and after each of 12 boating trips. They also would provide a fish caught during each trip for examination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling for public comment on the proposed study through Nov. 18.

Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria can produce a toxin called microcystin that can harm the liver and cause long-term problems. The toxin can be inhaled or ingested through swimming.

Healthy people are unlikely to experience serious effects from periodic exposure.