Community and Public Health (a division of Canterbury DHB) has issued a health warning after potentially toxic blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) was found in Lake Forsyth/ Te Roto o Wairewa.
People and animals, particularly dogs, should avoid Lake Forsyth/Te Roto o Wairewa until the health warning has been lifted.
Recent testing indicated high numbers of the potentially toxic cyanobacteria
Aphanizomenon were present in the water of Lake Forsyth/ Te Roto o Wairewa. The cyanobacteria is not always visible, but this filamentous algae can form dense blooms near the surface.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the algal bloom can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals. So people should avoid contact with the water until further notice.
"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 and please let your doctor know if you have had contact with the lake water," Dr Humphrey says.
No one should drink the water from the lake at any time, Dr Humphrey says. Boiling the water does not remove the toxin.
Animals that show signs of illness after coming into contact with algal mats should be taken to a vet immediately.
Fish and shellfish can concentrate toxins and their consumption should be avoided. If fish are eaten, remove the gut and liver and wash in clean water.
Environment Canterbury monitors the lake weekly during summer and the public will be advised of any changes in water quality that are of public health significance.
Visit the Environment Canterbury website for further information on water quality in Canterbury.
You can also contact Community and Public Health for more information (03 364 1777).
Health Alerts Archive
For a full list of the convenient ways that you can contact us, refer to the Contact Us page
Connect With Us