The mission of the Virginia HAB Task Force is to conduct monitoring and surveillance for HAB species, to respond to and investigate HAB events, utilize scientifically relevant information to advise public health and environmental resource managers, and to communicate potential health risks to the public.
These efforts are intended to prevent human exposure to HAB organisms and their toxins which may be present in Virginia marine and fresh waterbodies.
The Virginia Department of Health works in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Old Dominion University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, to monitor Virginia’s waters for harmful algae and to prevent illness that may be caused by these organisms. This group is collectively known as the Virginia HAB Task Force and was formed in 1997.
These agencies collaboratively conduct surveillance in shellfish growing areas, estuaries, as well as coastal beaches and inland freshwater lakes and rivers. This group communicates routinely with one another and the public about HABs to facilitate awareness, discussions, and to share research findings in order to protect human health.
For questions about the HAB Task Force, please contact the VDH Division of Environmental Epidemiology at 804-864-8182.