The warning issued last week for Holden’s Bay in Lake Rotorua has been extended today to include all of Lake Rotorua due to an algal bloom of cyanobacteria.
The health warning is based on laboratory results provided by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which indicate an algal bloom affecting much of Lake Rotorua.
“It is important to avoid any activity which results in contact with the lake water,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.
Cyanobacteria can release toxins which can trigger asthma and hayfever symptoms, skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.
"Algal mats and scum may also accumulate along the shoreline of the lake and so it’s especially important that parents ensure that children avoid contact with these as they may be toxic,” says Dr Shoemack.
Dogs are particularly at risk and should also be kept away from the shoreline. Elsewhere in New Zealand there have been reported deaths of dogs that have eaten algae on shorelines.
“The existing cyanobacteria-related warnings for Lake Rotoehu, and for Okere Arm at the western end of Lake Rotoiti remain in place,” says Dr Shoemack.
Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels: