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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
February 26, 2014

Increasing Risks From Algal Blooms Detected at Freshwater Lakes

JAMA. 2014;311(8):792. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.804

Stepped-up efforts are needed to monitor and control harmful algal blooms that have been linked with increases in waterborne disease outbreaks at freshwater lakes.

In a recent issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), federal and state health officials presented the first survey data examining these types of disease outbreaks. Human health data and water sampling results compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (WBDOSS) showed that during 2009 to 2010, 11 waterborne disease outbreaks associated with algal blooms were reported, all at freshwater lakes. In comparison, WBDOSS had reports of only 3 such outbreaks during 1978 to 2008.