After recording more than 200 cases of poisoning in Alagoas, related to the red tide phenomenon, the Environmental Institute of the State of Alagoas (IMA) reported that it found no new points on the coast of Alagoas. Technicians from the institute carried out an overflight this Friday (2) on beaches on the north coast of the state, where the cases were recorded, but did not visually identify the presence of the algae that causes the phenomenon.
In addition to the flight, the team collected seawater samples in sections of Carro Quebrado beach, in Barra de Santo Antônio. The material is under analysis.
“The Coastal Management and laboratory teams covered the stretch of coast between Maceió and Barra de Camaragibe. On this route, no spots were identified in the sea or other signs that would indicate the presence of red tide”, informed the IMA.
The neighboring state, Pernambuco, also suffered during the week from red tide, especially on the south coast, between the municipalities of Maracaípe and Tamandaré. More than 270 people, including bathers and surfers, required medical attention after reporting symptoms of poisoning.
Technicians from the State Department of Health of Pernambuco (SES) and municipal health teams carried out the survey and analysis of the medical records of patients who sought the local hospital, from January 26th to 30th.
“In a preliminary analysis, from the period mentioned above, 278 suspected cases were identified in the records of the Municipal Hospital. The cases will be analyzed for confirmation or not. The number of cases may be changed until the end of the investigation”, informed the SES in a note released on Thursday (1st). “At the time, it was reported that around 200 fishermen showed symptoms of poisoning during the red tide. Some reports from fishermen were made during the meeting. They believe that “Tingui” – the way they know the phenomenon – was stronger than in previous years, given that similar episodes have occurred in the region since the 1940s”, says another excerpt from the note.
The secretariat advises bathers to avoid proximity to affected areas and also to avoid signs such as the odor and color of the sea water, “which could signal possible new episodes”.
“There is, at this moment, no guidance to avoid going to the sea or beach, as well as to avoid consuming shellfish (shellfish, oysters and sururu). But the population must be aware of the odor and color of the sea water, which can signal possible new episodes. In this situation, proximity to affected locations should be avoided”, pointed out the SES.
Also according to the secretariat, at the current moment in the blooming cycle of these algae, the tendency is for there to be a decrease in cases related to the phenomenon. SES highlights, however, the importance of maintaining constant monitoring by environmental agencies, “since new episodes may occur during the summer.”
During the visit, representatives from the Health Department and the municipality of Tamandaré were present at the Fishermen’s Association, at the invitation of the entity’s president, Maria Madalena, who was responsible for sending the alert to the state health authorities.
What is red tide
Red tide is a phenomenon caused by the excessive growth of algae that release toxins or not. It is perceived on the surface of the water by its odor and the formation of a large stain that may have reddish, orange, yellowish or brownish tones.
According to the IMA, the phenomenon is caused by increased temperature, salinity, excess nutrients, among other factors. The release of domestic sewage on the beaches also contributes, making the red tide stay in the region between 12 hours and 48 hours.
Among the main symptoms of poisoning are nausea, diarrhea, irritation and dryness in the eyes, as well as shortness of breath.
The IMA highlighted that it maintains the recommendation to avoid recreation and bathing in parts of the sea with different colors and odors.