Florida Beaches Face Menace as Seaweed Blob Brings Flesh-Eating Bacteria

According to The Guardian, a full blown (or full bloom) science fiction movie is playing out on Florida's beaches.

The unwelcome arrival of enormous clumps of the Great Atlantic sargassum belt, a 5,000-mile wide seaweed blob in the Atlantic Ocean, is fodder for a Stephen King novel.

The arrival not only threatens to spoil the state’s busy summer tourist season with its putrid odour, but the piles of decomposing algae are now an actual health threat: concealed within the sargassum are high levels of Vibrio bacteria, “omnivorous” flesh-eating bacteria strains that target both plant and animal life. Nice for the kiddies.

Adding to the concern is the influence of ocean pollution on the bacteria's rapid growth, which can lead to severe illness or even death if contracted by individuals. Samples from the Caribbean and Sargasso Sea yielded plastic debris interacting with the algae and bacteria, creating what researchers describe as a "perfect pathogen storm".

Florida’s department of health is advising residents and visitors to avoid sargassum, issuing warnings about the bacteria’s severe Vibrio vulnificus infections.

As Open Jaw reported, the amount of Sargassum seaweed is increasing yearly and set a new monthly record in the Caribbean in APR.

While tourism remains unaffected, the ongoing invasion demands attention to protect the ecosystem and public well-being.

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