Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bloom of blue-green algae - Health warning issued for parts of Lake Rotorua & Lake Rotoiti, New Zealand

A health warning has been issued for parts of Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti. The affected areas include the eastern side of Lake Rotorua from Holdens Bay to Ohau Channel and the Okere arm portion of Lake Rotoiti.

Routine water test results provided by Bay of Plenty Regional Council have confirmed a bloom of blue-green algae.

“The health warning means that people should avoid any activity which results in significant contact with the water,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health. “Blue-green algae have the potential to release toxins which can affect health by aggravating hayfever and asthma, causing skin rashes, and even neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems,” advised Dr Miller.

“As we have many recreational waters in the area, the sampling points are limited. Blooms can also occur quite quickly in the right conditions, so it is always safest to check the water before you get in,” says Dr Miller. “Look before you leap; if the water looks discoloured, smells unusual, or if there is scum on the surface of lakes or on the beds of rivers, go somewhere else to swim or do motorsports.”

Rotorua District Council will be erecting signs at Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti advising potential lake users of the algal bloom. Read More