Red Tide Returns to Baldwin County Beaches

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) - State officials for the second time this fall are warning people with respiratory problems to stay away from the water at Alabama's beaches after detecting elevated levels of the organism that causes red tide.

Concentrations are high enough to trigger respiratory distress and kill fish even though they are considered low to medium.

Bill Smith, a lab manager with the state Department of Public Health, told the Press-Register in a story today that water samples collected along Baldwin County on Sunday showed concentrations of the microscopic dinoflagellate.

The organism reached 170,000 cells per liter of water at Gulf Shores main public beach and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. It reached 240,000 cells at Fort Morgan.

Fish kills and a noticeable discoloration of water typically occur when levels exceed 1 million cells per liter.

State officials believe the dinoflagellates along Alabama's coast floated over from Florida and they will disperse when the weather changes.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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