Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Tourists warned to avoid toxic 'sea sawdust' microalgae off Canary Islands



Tourists have been warned to avoid blooms of toxic microalgae that have been propagating in the hot weather off Spain's Canary Islands.

Beachgoers have emerged from the warm sea waters scratching themselves after brushing against the tiny algae, also known as sea sawdust.


"Since the end of June, we have seen episodes of massive efflorescence (or bloom) of microalgae, sometimes reaching as far as bathing beaches," said Juan Aleman, director of public health for the Canaries.


He said its proliferation was a "natural, temporary phenomenon" which would eventually disappear.


But he warned the bacterium contained a toxin which can lead to skin irritation and dermatitis.


"Hence one must avoid coming into contact with it in the water and on the sand," said Mr Aleman.


A drone captures the microalgae on the sea surface on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife


He added no beaches had been closed because of the algae.
 
 
However, AFP reported that it had found several have been closed to swimmers in recent weeks, including the popular Teresitas beach at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.




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