Health warning for lake roundabout

Friday February 8, 2013

A health warning has been issued for Lake Roundabout, near Ashburton after potentially toxic blue-green algae (planktonic Anabaena cyanobacteria) were found.
 
The Community and Public Health division of the Canterbury District Health Board has issued the warning, which advises people to stay out of the water at this lake until further notice.
 
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the algal bloom can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.
 
Anabaena is a filamentous species of cyanobacteria which forms green globules that float in the water column.
 
“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips. If you experience any of these symptoms after contact with contaminated water, visit your doctor immediately,” Dr Humphrey says.
 
“No one should drink the water from the lake at any time and boiling the water does not remove the toxin.”
 
Toxic algae are particularly dangerous for dogs, so they should be kept away from the water. 
 
“Animals that show signs of illness after coming into contact with the algal bloom should be taken to a vet immediately.”
 
Eating fish from the lake should be avoided because they can concentrate the toxins in their gut.
 
“If fish are eaten, remove the gut and liver and wash the remainder of the fish in clean water.”
 
Environment Canterbury will continue to monitor the lake during summer and the public will be advised when the algal bloom has cleared.
 
For further information visit http://ecan.govt.nz/services/online-services/monitoring/swimming-water-quality/Pages/lake-warnings.aspx or contact Community and Public Health on (03) 364 1777.
 
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Page last reviewed: 09 July 2013
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