A scanning electron microscope image of Karenia brevis, the algae responsible for producing red tides in the Gulf of Mexico, and a computer model of brevetoxin that highlights the two reactive sites that bind DNA. Courtesy of John Ramsdell, photo by Karen Steidinger
Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning
This disease is associated with Brevetoxins. Blooms of the associated phytoplankton are highly distinctive (true red tides), are seasonal and can last for many months.
Blooms have been known off the coast of Florida for centuries, but in recent decades have also been recorded off other parts of the US east coast and New Zealand.
Symptoms are milder that PSP, but blooms can be so extensive that surf action can lead to aerosols carrying the toxin carried by wind up to 100km inland.
Symptoms include shortness of breath, and eye irritation. These blooms have further effects of ecology by causing massive fish kills, which when rotting, can lead to extensive areas subject to anoxia.