manatees are mammals, they need to come up and breath fresh air just like we do. They can get sick or even die from breathing a concentrated aerosol form of the red tide toxin found in the supersaturated layer of air just above the water's surface. A manatee suffering from the effects of red tide may exhibit muscle twitches, lack of coordination, labored breathing, and an inability to maintain body orientation. If rescued in time, most manatees can recover from the effects of red tide toxicity, so please report a sick manatee immediately to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922), #FWC or *FWC on your cellular phone. Last year's red tide is reportedly responsible for the death of 276 manatees.
No human deaths have been attributed to red tide, however respiratory and skin irritations have been reported. Shellfish should not be consumed during a bloom, however it is considered safe to consume shrimp, crabs and fish during a red tide.