Mississippi has closed two more of its Gulf Coast beaches to swimming until further notice along the Biloxi and Gulfport corridor as the height of the state’s summer tourism season and Fourth of July approaches, USA Today reports.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced the latest closures late Thursday, bringing the total number of beaches closed in Hancock and Harrison counties to 12 because of a growing blue-green harmful algal bloom.
The algal bloom, or rapid growth, is in part caused to the opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway in Louisiana, which introduced an excessive amount of fresh water to the coastline.
The blue-green algae is technically not an alga, but cyanobacteria, which is known to produce toxins. Exposure can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Closures don’t prevent the use of beaches for sunbathing or 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 affected areas. Read the full story.