Health Warning – Algal Bloom in Lake Forsyth/ Te Roto o Wairewa
The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board 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 children and dogs, should avoid Lake Forsyth/Te Roto o Wairewa until the health warning has been lifted.
Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the algal bloom can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals; 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 Pink says.
“No one should drink the water from the lake at any time and 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.
Further information on gathering Mahinga Kai can be obtained below.
When a bloom of potentially toxic cyanobacteria is present in a lake, there is a possibility of cyanobacteria and toxins being transported downstream. People are advised to avoid contact with the downstream water bodies.
Environment Canterbury will monitor the lake weekly until the warning is lifted, and the public will be advised of any changes in water quality that are of public health significance.