Red Sea causes poisoning in bathers on the South Coast of Pernambuco; understand the phenomenon

Red Sea causes poisoning in bathers on the South Coast of Pernambuco; understand the phenomenon
Red Sea causes poisoning in bathers on the South Coast of Pernambuco; understand the phenomenon
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In addition to causing discomfort in people, the toxins emitted by algae are capable of contaminating fish, molluscs and crustaceans (Photo: Vinicius Lubambo)

Tourists and residents who frequent the beaches of Ipojuca and Tamandaré, on the South Coast of the State, report that they are suffering from discomfort after swimming in the sea. At least three people were hospitalized in a private unit due to a natural phenomenon known as “Red tide”.

This event occurs when there is an excessive growth of microscopic algae in the sea, a process called bloom. Because of this, the water has some reddish spots and can turn brown, yellow, purple or orange.

To date, 15 notifications have been made to the Pernambuco Health Surveillance Strategic Information Center (CIEVS/PE). Patients report experiencing symptoms such as severe headaches and sore throats, fever and nausea. The State Department of Health is investigating the case.

According to the ministry, an inspection team from the State Environment Agency (CPRH) went to the location to collect water samples, which will be analyzed to understand what may have caused the patients’ symptoms. Another team will be sent to the site this Thursday (1) to collect more information together with professionals from the 3rd Health Region and the municipality of Tamandaré.

The secretariat also reported that the municipalities of Ipojuca, Sirinhaém, Rio Formoso and São José da Coroa Grande were called to investigate the situation. In addition to causing discomfort in people, the toxins emitted by algae are capable of contaminating fish, molluscs and crustaceans.

The Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) recommends that people avoid going to the beach during this period.

Red Tide reached Maracaípe in 2019

Bathers and surfers who visited Maracaípe beach, in the municipality of Ipojuca, South Coast of Pernambuco, in February 2019 also suffered from symptoms caused by Red Tide.

People who had contact with the water and even the wind near the shore reported symptoms such as severe headache, sore throat, itching, fever, eye irritation, nausea and dizziness.

At the time, the Secretary of Environment and Urban Control clarified that it is not possible to predict when this phenomenon will happen and that, during Red Tide, the algae exude a strong smell similar to that of vinegar.

Generally, Red Tide occurs due to the bloom of algae called dinoflagellates, which produce some toxins that are among the strongest poisons in the world. This poisoning can happen directly, killing fish and other marine animals, and indirectly, poisoning oysters and molluscs that filter seawater. When these animals are consumed by others, the toxin can cause the death of the predator.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Red Sea poisoning bathers South Coast Pernambuco understand phenomenon

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