Swimmers at Florida Springs Develop Rashes

Health officials plan an investigation into why some swimmers at the state's most famous natural springs are developing skin rashes.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that state officials suspect a type of pollution-fueled algae (called Lyngbya wollei) is causing the rashes. But at this point there is only anecdotal evidence.

Reports of swimmers with rashes have come from Wakulla Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, Wekiwa Springs, Rainbow Springs, Fanning Springs, DeLeon Springs and Blue Spring in the state park system.

State records also show one incident that involved a snorkeler at Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Anthony DeLuise points out that rangers have documented just 34 incidents of park visitors developing skin rashes, compared to the six million other visitors who showed no apparent ill effects.

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