All of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast beaches have been closed for swimming as the bloom of toxic blue-green algae covers the state’s waters.
On Sunday the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced the closures of Pascagoula Beach West and Pascagoula Beach East, the final two state beaches that were open for swimming.
People are still allowed on the beach for recreation, but people and pets shouldn’t swim in the water. The agency also advises that anyone exposed to wash with soap and water and to not eat fish or any other seafood taken from the area.
The bloom is partly due to the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisiana, which introduced an excessive amount of fresh water to the coastline.
The blue-green algae is technically not an algae, but cyanobacteria, which is known to produce toxins. Exposure can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.