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Doctors say study needed for long-term health impacts of toxic algae blooms

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 04:35:33-04

Doctors at Martin Health System say they have seen an increase in patients with symptoms believed to be related to blue-green algae.

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That's not surprising to Keri West who hasn't been in the water since 2013.

"Huge respiratory problems, headaches," said West.

Dr. Michael Romano, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Martin Health System, says it's beginning to look a lot like the summer of 2016.

"As a healthcare professional I'm very concerned," said Romano.

His emergency room directors are seeing walk-ins with rashes, respiratory issues and gastrointestinal symptoms.

His advice? Stay out of the water. "Not worth the risk," said Romano.

Romano really wants to see a funded study to determine the long-term health effects of toxic algae blooms.

"We need the CDC or health agencies to be monitoring the levels and to begin to do some research so we know what the long-term effects are going to be," said Romano.

Martin Health System will begin tracking patients with these algae-related symptoms later this week.