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Red tide’s grip on SW Florida broken, scientist says

SARASOTA, FL - The red tide bloom affecting the Southwest Florida coast could finally be going away.

Researchers studying the deadly outbreak of the organism, Karenia brevis, that once spanned more than 150 miles along the Gulf coast in mid-August, say it has become patchy and typical of a seasonal bloom, normally detected from August to December and ending in February or March.

That’s good news for coastal residents who have anecdotally reported coughing fits, congestion, burning eyes and illness from the respiratory effects of aerosolized red tide toxins during the bloom that began more than 13 months ago.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports 193 manatee deaths because of red tide or suspected red tide poisoning. Close to 300 sea turtles and 74 dolphin strandings are attributed to the bloom.

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