Calm Down, Beach-Goers: There Are Zero Reported "Sea Lice" Cases in Galveston

On Tuesday evening, KHOU aired a story about a "handful of sea lice cases" reported at Galveston Beach. Little microscopic larvae that come from marine life like jellyfish and that latch onto you and make you break out in a painful rash.

So then, people freaked out.

They started texting their daughters about it from their living rooms. They started  canceling their lazy-day beach plans. And the radio people at both Houston's 96.5 FM and 95.7 FM blasted it out during the evening commute that the sea lice are "on the rise" in Galveston!!!

To say the least, the summer was starting to look like a total bummer, man.
But then, officials with the Galveston County Health District saw the news and immediately thought, "Huh?" Rest assured, beach-goers: Both the Health District and the Galveston Island Beach Patrol confirmed to the Houston Press that there have been zero reported cases of alleged "sea lice" in the Galveston waters. "And we would know," said Peter Davis, the Beach Patrol chief. "We're out there every day and in the water every day."

What is true, however, is that Florida beaches off the Gulf of Mexico — you know, 1,000 miles away — have in fact reported a sea lice outbreak. Gross pictures emerged of a person with a nasty-looking rash all over his back, which, of course, was used in the KHOU news report and also in KTRK's. Davis said that, although some reports have surmised that maybe the microscopic sea lice will make their 1,000-mile way over to Galveston, sea lice are nothing new along coastlines in warm waters, but he has never heard of Galveston having a sea lice problem in all the years he's been on board.
The Galveston County Health District put out a PSA Facebook post that clarified that there isn't a sea lice problem at the beach. To Facebookers who commented things like, THAT'S NOT TRUE I'VE BEEN BITTEN BY SOMETHING BEFORE, the public information officer, Scott Packard, told people what he told us: that when you go in any water, there will always be marine life and that if you do get any type of rash, sting or bite, it's best to talk to your doctor right away. 

But seriously, people: There are still no sea lice. 

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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn