New medical code will monitor toxic algae sickness

Healthcare providers have a new medical code to document illnesses related to red tide or blue-green algae, according to

The new code, Z77.121, aims to help quantify these health issues.

"The more data that's collected, the more incidents of health problems caused by toxic algae, the better the grasp healthcare providers and government agencies have on the extent of the problem," said K.C. Schulberg, executive director of the Calusa Waterkeeper in Fort Myers, Fla., according to

He said an increase in cases could also lead the federal government to put more money toward combating algae blooms.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, harmful algal blooms such as  red tides and blue-green algae can damage aquatic ecosystems and produce dangerous toxins that can sicken or kill people.


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