SCARDALA, S., DI GIROLAMO, I., FATTORUSSO, E., FUNARI, E., GRAMACCIONI, L., BERTOLOTTO, R., ICARDI, G., MATTEI, D., POLETTI, R and TESTAI, E., 2011. Risk Management of Ostreopsis spp. Blooms Along Italian Coasts. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 435–439. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208
In the last years Ostreopsis spp. blooms have been reported in several Italian coastal stretches, showing a clear trend towards their extension. In 2005, during summer, an O.ovata bloom occurring in the coastal area in front of Genoa was tentatively associated with some human effects. Symptoms like rhinorrea, cough, fever, conjunctivitis, bronchoconstriction with mild dyspnea, and wheezes were observed in people exposed to marine aerosols, possibly containing algal fragments and/or its toxin. With less severe symptoms, similar episodes have been sporadically recorded in other coastal areas. Up to these events, the institutional monitoring activities were focused only on the surveillance of planktonic microalgae whereas benthonic ones, such as Ostreopsis spp. were ignored. To fill this gap, in 2006 a group of experts was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Health with the task to elaborate specific guidelines to manage the possible riskassociated to Ostreopsis spp. blooms. After their formal endorsement, the guidelines were published in the official site of the Ministry and implemented by local structures. The guidelines identify surveillance activities to be carried out, subdividing them into the routine, alert and alarm phases. These guidelines are currently under revision in order to update the scientific background and refine the approach on the basis of the two-year application experience.