Toxic algae found in Lake Hayes by ORC

May 28, 2020

From the Otago Regional Council:

During monthly state of the environment sampling, Otago Regional Council (ORC) staff observed an algal bloom at Lake Hayes, suspected to be a potentially toxic algae (cyanobacteria). Warning signs will be in place later today.

Exposure to toxic algae for humans may cause symptoms such as skin rashes, nausea, tummy upset, and tingling and numbness around the mouth or tips of fingers. Anyone experiencing health symptoms after contact with contaminated water should visit their doctor.

For dog owners, when a toxic algae alert is in place it is important that dogs are kept on a lead, out of the water and that they do not consume vegetation from the water’s edge. Signs that a dog has been poisoned by toxic algae can include lethargy, muscle tremors, fast breathing, twitching, paralysis and convulsions. It is important to treat the first signs of illness as an emergency and contact your vet immediately.

ORC encourages dog owners to familiarise themselves with toxic algae and know what to look for when exercising dogs in or around rivers and lakes. People should avoid any contact with the water while warning signs are in place.

Anyone who suspects they are experiencing a reaction due to contact with toxic algae should seek medical attention.

If you spot green algae in lakes, or dark mats in streams and rivers, contact ORC on our 24/7 pollution hotline, 0800 800 033.

For more information on potentially toxic algae, see LAWA’s factsheet:


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