Causes and Symptoms of Harmful Algal Bloom-Related Illness
Symptoms experienced during illness depend on the type of toxin present in the water and how a person is exposed (i.e., ingestion, skin contact, and inhalation).
Common symptoms experienced include:
- sore throat
- eye irritation
Symptoms generally begin hours to 2 days after exposure to the toxins.
Duration of Illness
Symptoms typically last a few days in healthy persons.
People can be exposed to microcystin and other cyanotoxins when surface scums or water containing high levels of toxins are:
- swallowed while drinking or recreating
- in contact with skin
- inhaled as airborne droplets while recreating or watering lawns and gardens
Although there have been no confirmed reports of cyanotoxin-related health effects due to eating fish caught during a harmful algal bloom, it is uncertain whether enough toxins in fish can be consumed to pose a health risk.
Do you suspect you are experiencing adverse health effects from a harmful algal bloom? Visit reporting suspected foodborne/waterborne illnesses.