Wednesday 13 December 2023Media release3 minutes to read
Te Whatu Ora has issued a health warning for the South Bank Tributary of the Waiau /Uwha River above the Waiau Bridge.
The warning follows finding moderate to high cover of potentially toxic algae (benthic cyanobacteria) in a tributary of the Waiau/Uwha River.
People should avoid the area and animals, particularly dogs, should not be allowed near the water until the health warning has been lifted.
There are also other access points along the Waiau/Uwha River that may have benthic cyanobacteria present. People are advised to treat every low-flowing river cautiously, check for the presence of benthic cyanobacteria and avoid contact.
Dr Matt Reid, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, National Public Health Service, says the algae look like dark brown to black mats and can produce toxins harmful to people and animals.
“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips.”
“If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately, also let your doctor know if you’ve had contact with dark brown/black algal mats or water in this area,” Dr Matt Reid says.
Pets that show signs of illness after coming into contact with algal mats should be taken to a vet immediately.
People and animals should remain out of the waterways until the warnings have been lifted.
Environment Canterbury is monitoring the sites and the public will be advised of any changes in water quality.
Or contact the Canterbury Public Health team on (03) 364 1777:
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Page last updated: 19 December 2023
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