A bloom of blue-green algae spotted by state officials on the Sassafras River has prompted the closure of Betterton Beach in Kent County, officials announced yesterday.
The Microcystis aeruginosa bloom - first seen by Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials July 17 on Turner Creek - has expanded down the Sassafras River to the beach.
Kent County health officials decided to close the beach area after several people who swam nearby last weekend reported itching and rashes, according to DNR officials.
Algal blooms can occur in tidal freshwater parts of the Chesapeake Bay and bay tributaries during hot weather, sometimes causing fish kills when they use up the water's oxygen.
DNR officials also reported finding a blue-green algal bloom on the Bush River. They recommend that people avoid swimming in areas with blue-green algae blooms or drinking from the water.