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Harmful algal blooms and public health
- Grattan, Lynn M., Holobaugh, Sailor, Morris, J. Glenn
- Harmful algae 2016 v.57 pp. 2-8
- algae, algal blooms, amnesic shellfish poisoning, antidotes, ciguatera, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, distress, fish consumption, humans, issues and policy, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, outreach, paralytic shellfish poisoning, poisoning, public health, risk, shellfish, tourism, toxins
- The five most commonly recognized Harmful Algal Bloom-related illnesses are ciguatera poisoning, paralytic shellfish poisoning, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), amnesic shellfish poisoning, and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. Although these exposures result from exposure to different toxins or toxin congeners, these clinical syndromes have much in common. Exposure occurs through the consumption of fish, shellfish, or through exposure to aerosolized NSP toxins. Routine clinical tests are not available for the diagnosis of harmful algal bloom related illnesses, there is no known antidote for exposure, and the risk of these illnesses can negatively impact local fishing and tourism industries. The absence of exposure risk or diagnostic certainty can also precipitate a chain of events that results in considerable psychological distress for coastal populations. Thus, illness prevention is of paramount importance to minimize human and public health risks. To accomplish this, further transdisciplinary research, close communication and collaboration are needed among HAB scientists, public health researchers, and local, state and tribal health departments at academic, community outreach, and policy levels.