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Health Warning Issued for Lake Rotoehu

24 January 2008

Health Warning Issued for Lake Rotoehu

A health warning has been issued for Lake Rotoehu today as routine water test results provided by Environment Bay of Plenty have confirmed a bloom of blue-green algae.

“The health warning means that people should avoid any activity which results in significant contact with the water,” according to Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health. He added, “blue-green algae have the potential to release toxins which can affect health by aggravating hayfever and asthma, causing skin rashes, and also damage to the nervous system.”

Similar blooms have affected Lake Rotoehu at some stage over most of the last few summers. Lake Rotoehu is particularly prone to algal blooms due its high nutrient loadings and its shallow average depth which means that sunlight, necessary for growth of the algae, can penetrate to most of the lake water.

Regular sampling of the lake will continue and updates will be provided as further laboratory results become available. “This bloom could disappear as quickly as it has begun or it could persist for months and so people should heed the warning at all times” according to Dr Shoemack.

For all health protection enquiries contact Toi Te Ora - Public Health:

ENDS

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