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Update: June 8, 2007
are a group of unicellular microorganisms that live in estuaries
(back bay waters where rivers mix with ocean water). When large numbers
of fish are present, and other environmental conditions are right, these
organisms can multiply and secrete one or more toxins (poisons) that can
kill fish and shellfish and can also cause adverse health effects in humans
exposed to the waters or to vapors emanating from the waters in a fish
kill area. Pfiesteria have caused or contributed to a number of large
fish kills along the east coast from FL to DE, most frequently in NC and
MD. Some adverse human health effects in laboratory workers and bay fishermen
have been associated with exposure during Pfiesteria-related fish kill
NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of
Health and Senior Services (DHSS) have prepared a document entitled "Pfiesteria:
Background Information and Contingency Plan."
This document dictates
response protocols to be used by DHSS, DEP, and county and local health
and emergency response personnel in the event of a Pfiesteria-related
scientists in DEP’s Division of Science, Research & Technology
have prepared an additional document that describe research conducted
in NJ on Pfiesteria.
Monitoring in New Jersey 1998 – 2000: (6/8/07)
addition, a MS Power Point presentation entitled "Pfiesteria." is a series of slides that provide additional background information on
questions concerning Pfiesteria, please contact Dr.
Thomas Atherholt, Research Scientist for the Division of Science,
Research & Technology.