Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


ORC warns of possible emergence of toxic algal bloom


December 3, 2012

ORC warns of possible emergence of toxic algal bloom

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is warning people to be wary of the possible presence of toxic algae in rivers and lakes throughout the Otago region this summer.

ORC director of environmental information and science John Threlfall said toxic algae occurs naturally in a wide range of water quality conditions, including relatively clean waters. It is more likely to be present during the summer months than at any other time of the year.

In rivers, Phormidium is a common toxic algae which typically forms a thick brown-black slimy algae mat found on large rocks, stones, and cobbles, Dr Threlfall said

If the mats detach, they may float downstream to become caught up in other debris such as sticks. When the Phormidium mats die and dry out, they become light brown or white. Either fresh or dried, it can be highly toxic and harmful to humans and animals.
This is especially true for dogs, as they are particularly susceptible to poisoning from both mat-forming and free-floating toxic algae.

“Many dogs enjoy being in the water and can eat these algae intentionally or by accident, which can have tragic results,” Dr Threlfall said.

Symptoms of poisoning in animals exposed to the type of toxins present in Phormidium mats include lethargy, muscle tremors, fast breathing, twitching, paralysis, and convulsions. In extreme cases, death can occur within 30 minutes after signs first appear.

Toxic algal blooms are commonly blue-green in lakes or still water, but can also be red or yellow.

They typically form thick scums on the surface, and may also develop foams at the water's edge. In Otago toxic algal blooms in lakes do not occur regularly.

If an algal bloom is present, people have been known to develop allergic reactions such as asthma, eye irritations, rashes, blistering around the mouth and nose, and gastro-intestinal disorders, including abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhoea.

Dr Threlfall said any reaction depends on the type of toxic algae, the type of toxins present, and the concentration of the toxin in the water.

“The higher the concentration of algae toxins and the longer the contact with the water, the more severe the symptoms are likely to be,” he said.

Where humans become ill or are suspected of being ill after swallowing water containing algal bloom, medical advice should be sought immediately. Likewise, if animals become sick, a veterinarian should be contacted.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Gordon Campbell: On Putin’s Diplomatic Coup Over Syria

    There’s a simple historical precedent for what is occurring in Syria. During WWII, the Allies joined forces with a known butcher and tyrant – Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union – in order to defeat a greater evil, Nazi Germany… More>>


    Key 'Didn't Know': Brownlee Seeks Pandas In China

    While Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in China pushing a taxpayer funded deal to bring two pandas to New Zealand, the country’s military look set to be hit with a pay freeze, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. More>>


    Scoop Business: GCSB Willing To Extend Cyber-Attack Programme To Local ISPs

    The Government Communications Security Bureau’s ‘Cortex’ cyber-security programme has been successful in helping identify and mitigate a series of cyber attacks since its introduction and an extension to cover local internet service providers is still on the cards... More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news