Health warning issued for Lake Rotorua, Ohau Channel and Okere Arm of Lake Rotoiti

A health warning has been issued today for Lake Rotorua, the Ohau Channel (the channel that links Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti) and the Okere Arm of Lake Rotoiti.

The health warning is based on visual assessments and satellite imagery provided by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which indicate an extensive algal bloom throughout much of these areas.

“The bloom on Lake Rotorua, the Ohau Channel and Okere Arm of Lake Rotoiti is likely to be of blue-green algae which can be toxic and so it is important to avoid any activity which results in contact with the lake water,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.

Contact with water affected by blooms of blue-green algae can cause asthma and hayfever attacks in some individuals. Contact with the blue-green algae can also cause 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 shorelines and so it’s especially important that parents ensure that children avoid contact with these as they may be toxic,” says Dr de Wet.

Dogs are particularly at risk and should also be kept away from the shorelines. Elsewhere in New Zealand there have been reported deaths of dogs that have eaten algae on shorelines.

Sampling is underway to confirm the type of algae causing the bloom.Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels:

20220902 Lake Rotorua

Image: Satellite imagery provided by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council indicates an extensive algal bloom on Lake Rotorua.