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Rubio Asks CDC To Remain Vigilant To Florida’s Algae Crisis
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stand ready should the state of Florida request assistance with the harmful algae bloom impacting the Treasure Coast. In a letter to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, Rubio expressed concern over the long-term health of people who come in contact with the algae.
“Residents, and the tourists who plan to visit the areas, should have the best available advice and science informing them of the potential hazards associated with the harmful algae bloom,” Rubio wrote. “Sadly, this issue has been ongoing for weeks, with no definitive end in sight.
“Should the state request assistance, I respectfully request the CDC deploy the appropriate aid to areas impacted by the harmful algae bloom. Our first responsibility is to ensure people are protected and well-informed of the potential dangers this harmful algal bloom presents,” Rubio continued.
Following his visit to the Treasure Coast last week, Rubio’s office reached out to the CDC regarding health implications caused by the algae. They spoke with representatives of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and the National Center on Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Disease for an update of how the agency is working with the state.
A PDF of the letter is available here and the full text is below:
Dr. Thomas Frieden
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton road
Atlanta, GA 30333
Dear Dr. Frieden:
I write to respectfully request the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remain vigilant to the State of Florida, which is currently being impacted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB). With a wetter than average winter and spring, discharges from Lake Okeechobee have wreaked havoc on the delicate ecosystems, and have contributed to an outbreak of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.
The thick algae, which is putrid smelling, has prompted Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in four counties. It has been reported that people in and around the blooms are experiencing headaches, respiratory problems, and rashes. While affected beaches have been closed to swimming, I worry for the long term health of people who have come into contact with the algae. Residents, and the tourists who plan to visit the areas, should have the best available advice and science informing them of the potential hazards associated with the HAB. Sadly, this issue has been ongoing for weeks, with no definitive end in sight.
I greatly appreciate your staff’s quick response to my office’s inquiries into available assistance and programs. I am pleased to hear the CDC is engaged with Florida officials related to this bloom and request that you keep me and my office abreast of any developments in this regard. Should the state request assistance, I respectfully request the CDC deploy the appropriate aid to areas impacted by the HAB. Our first responsibility is to ensure people are protected and well-informed of the potential dangers this HAB presents. I thank you again, and look forward to working with you.
United States Senator