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Diseases And Algae Blooms: Florida Researchers To Make Connections

In late May 2010, water samples taken at the lower St. Johns River (St. Johns and Putnam counties indicated high concentrations of a harmful cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) species, Aphanizomenon cf. flos-aquae.
Courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

State health officials are funding a study to explore the relationship between human health and algae bloom toxins. 

 The Florida Department of Health awarded the University of Florida $130,000 to identify hotspots in the state for certain neurological and liver diseases, which are linked to algae exposure. Then, researchers will look in those areas for freshwater contaminated with toxic algae blooms.

"These diseases, include liver diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. We will specifically look for hotspots for those diseases," said Yi Guo, assistant professorat UF's Department of Health Outcomes.

He said this project is just the beginning.

"In the future, we will apply for larger grants that deal with the actual risk factors from Florida for public health planning purposes," said Guo. 

He said this initial study just got underway on Monday and will last about half a year.

Copyright 2019 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of All Things Consideredfor WGCU News.
Jessica Meszaros
Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media.