All of the beaches along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast have been closed due to a toxic algae bloom that causes rashes and vomiting, officials said.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said on Sunday that two additional beaches in Jackson County were shut down due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom that extended into the area.
The update means that all of Mississippi’s 21 beaches have now been closed, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
Last week, officials issued three beach closures — increasing the total number of closures to 19 after 16 beaches were closed between late June and early July.
Harmful algal blooms are overgrowths of algae in water. Some produce dangerous toxins in fresh or marine water but even nontoxic blooms hurt the environment and local economies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The algae could cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting,” the state’s Department of Environmental Quality said. “Those exposed [should] wash with soap and water.”