Wednesday, June 1, 2011
KDHE ISSUES ALGAE BLOOM WATCH
Blue-green algae blooms of particular concern as weather warms
TOPEKA — As summer heat warms ponds, lakes, and reservoirs, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding water recreationists to be on the lookout for algae blooms. At this time of year, more Kansans spend time in the water, and the agency is asking for help and heightened awareness from those who enjoy water sports.
Algae are microscopic organisms that grow naturally in the ocean and freshwater, but under certain conditions and warmer weather, they can grow rapidly. When this happens, blue-green algae can produce toxins capable of causing illness in people and animals.
“Last year, our recorded number of cases was higher than previous years,” explains Dr. Robert Moser, KDHE secretary. “I strongly urge everyone to check KDHE’s algae website for advisories before visiting reservoirs and other public water bodies this summer. We appreciate public cooperation and assistance in making the summer season fun and safe for all Kansans.”
Moser also noted that a large percentage of the public will report "allergic" type reactions after exposure, such as intestinal problems, respiratory problems, or skin irritations.
For the latest algae advisories and warnings around Kansas, as well as detailed information on blue-green algae, go online to www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/algae_advisories.htm.