No swimming: Toxic bacteria afflicts Mississippi coast
HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. - An outbreak of toxic bacteria is ruining some beach plans in Mississippi, where authorities are warning people not to swim or eat seafood from polluted coastal waters.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality released a list of closed beaches to news outlets. Residents shouldn't even allow their pets to come in contact with water that has a greenish-blue hue.
The toxic cyanobacterium can cause rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins blames fresh water entering the Mississippi sound. A New Orleans spillway has been open for a historically long time to relieve pressure on levees from the flooded Mississippi River.
The freshwater influx is creating a dead zone without oxygen where marine life can't survive.
An "algal bloom" with similar effects was reported in parts of Lake Pontchartrain last week, prompting officials to warn against swimming and fishing in the affected area.