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The Beach Manager's Manuals about Harmful Algal Blooms

The Beach Manager's Manuals about Harmful Algal Blooms

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Michigan Sea Grant


Harmful algal blooms, commonly referred to as HABs, are an environmentally complex problem throughout the world. When algae grows rapidly in a confined area, grows to the point where a microscope is not needed to see it, or when it grows rapidly to form a dense population, it is referred to as an algal bloom.

Type E Botulism

The Great Lakes basin has undergone a resurgence of Type E botulism (often referred to as avian botulism) in recent years, characterized by dead birds and fish along the shores of the Great Lakes. The number of deaths and areas affected appear to be increasing to levels that induce concern about the ecological health of the Great Lakes nearshore waters. The Type E Botulism Outbreaks: A Manual for Beach Managers and the Public (manual) has been prepared by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC): Great Lakes Type E botulism Coordination and Response Initiative, to generate awareness and provide information regarding Type E botulism and how to control its spread throughout the region. This manual is intended to provide both beach managers and the general public with guidance on Type E botulism and to provide sources of additional information. While several different strains of bacteria cause botulism, the type E strain is responsible for most of the botulism outbreaks currently affecting fish and birds in the Great Lakes, and is therefore the focus of this manual. However, some of the information contained herein does relate to the type C strain as well (also referred to as avian botulism). The content in this manual is from several federal, state, and other resources. The following topics regarding Type E botulism are included as part of this manual: 

• Background: biology, occurrence, and transmission throughout the Great Lakes region, 

• Outbreak prevention, 

• Human and pet health protection, and 

• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

PDF's are available here: 

The Beach Manager's Manual - Harmful Algal Blooms

Type E Botulism Outbreaks: A Manual for Beach Managers and the Public

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Point of Contact

Lisa Merrifield, Assistant Director for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Phone(217) 333-0045
Alternate Point of ContactElizabeth LaPorte, Communications and Education Services Program Director for Michigan Sea Grant
Alternation Phone(734) 647-0767


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