A health warning has been issued today for Okawa Bay at the western end of Lake Rotoiti. The health warning is based on water test results and visual observations provided by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which indicate an extensive algal bloom throughout this area of the lake.
“People should avoid any activity which results in contact with the water in Okawa Bay,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, 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.
Signage will be erected at sites along the shore of the bay advising potential lake users about the algal bloom.
As we head into summer Dr Shoemack advises the public to keep an eye out for signs of algal blooms if using lakes in our region. “Algal blooms can develop rapidly and unpredictably and can sometimes produce toxins that are harmful for people as well as animals. If the water looks discoloured, has an unusual smell, or has green or brown particles floating in it then it is best to avoid contact with it.”
Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels: