Toxic algae bloom closes 9 Mississippi beaches

The beach in Pass Christian (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A total of nine beaches are now closed across two counties in South Mississippi as concerns over a toxic algae bloom continue to grow.

Crews were out early Tuesday morning putting up signs and orange warning flags in Harrison County warning people not to get in the water.

The toxic blue-green algae bloom is now affecting beaches in Harrison and Hancock County. Since Sunday, a total of nine of beaches have been closed. They include:

Harrison County

Station 5 – Pass Christian West Beach
Station 6 – Pass Christian Central Beach
Station 7 – Pass Christian East Beach
Station 7A – Long Beach Beach
Station 10 – Gulfport Central Beach

Hancock County

Station 1 – Lakeshore Beach
Station 2 – Buccaneer State Park Beach
Station 3 – Waveland Beach
Station 4 – Bay St. Louis Beach

People and their pets are advised to avoid contact with the water, which includes swimming or wading, due to the toxic algae. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources also advises people not to eat any fish or other seafood taken from any of the affected waters.

The sand portions of the beach remain open. If you do swim in the water, it can make you sick.

County officials say they are working on getting additional signs and flags to put up to help warn more people. Additional sampling will be done Tuesday and an updated report will be released once those results are available. All other beaches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast remain open.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a HAB can look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of water and can be different colors. HABs can produce toxins that have caused a variety of illnesses in people and animals.

HABs can occur in warm fresh, marine, or brackish waters with abundant nutrients and are becoming more frequent with climate change.