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Every one of Mississippi's 21 beaches are closed due to toxic algae

The algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting

July 08, 2019 - 10:10 am

(KMOX) - If you are looking to take a dip at any of Mississippi's 21 beaches you're out of luck, they have all been closed due to toxic algae. It was caused in part due to flooding in the Mississippi River that needed to be relieved.

On Sunday, the last two of Mississippi's 21 Gulf Coast beaches were closed to the public by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), during the middle of a popular vacation time for the destination state. MDEQ issued a statement alerting people that "a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)" is not safe for people and wildlife.

Officials say that people are still allowed to be on the sand, but warn against making any contact with the water for now. The MDEQ did not say when the beaches would reopen, but the advisory "may be revised as sampling results dictate."

A report by the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reports the algae was partially caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway in Louisiana, which has brought an "excessive amount of freshwater to the coastline." It needed to be opened to offset the rising Mississippi River that was swelling.

The algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting and that people and their pets should avoid contact with the water, according to a statement from the MDEQ. 

Blooms can be caused by several things like an increase in nutrient levels from fertilizers or low water flows. The spillway is expected to close mid-July.

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