Health warning issues for Lake Ohakuri

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A health warning has been issued for Lake Ohakuri as routine monitoring results provided by Waikato Regional Council have confirmed a bloom of potentially toxic blue-green algae.

“This health warning means that people should avoid any activity which results in contact with the lake water,” says medical officer of health Dr Neil de Wet.

“With high levels of blue-green algae in the lake, activities such as water skiing could expose people to toxins when in the water as well as through inhaling droplets of water spray.”

Contact with water affected by blooms of blue-green algae can cause asthma and hayfever attacks in some individuals. Contact with the blue-green algae can also cause skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.

Signage is being erected at Lake Ohakuri advising potential lake users about the algal bloom.

As we head into the summer months, Neil advises the public to keep an eye out for signs of algal blooms if using lakes in the region.

“Algal blooms can develop rapidly and unpredictably and can sometimes produce toxins that are harmful for people as well as animals. If the water looks discoloured, has an unusual smell, or has green or brown particles floating in it then it is best to avoid contact with it.”

Up to date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through:

• Phone: 0800 221 555

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