WORCESTER – On Monday, the City of Worcester Division of Public Health and the Department of Inspectional Services announced a public health advisory due to preliminary laboratory results of high levels of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in Indian Lake.
The lake will be closed until further notice. People and their pets are being asked to avoid coming in contact with the lake until additional laboratory tests are available.
According to the City of Worcester, algae and cyanobacteria blooms in New England are most common in summer and early fall.
Algae and cyanobacteria can form blooms in certain environmental conditions, such as warm weather, sunlight and excess nutrients in the water.
Excess levels of nutrients in the water can come from human related sources such as lawn fertilizers, storm water runoff and wild animal waste. Some kinds of cyanobacteria can sometimes produce toxins that are harmful to humans, dogs, and other animals.
Health concerns from toxin-producing algae vary depending on the type of exposure, and the amount of toxin present.
The following recommendations are being offered to avoid algae exposure until further notice:
- Do not swim in the lake
- Do not allow pets in water
- Fishing is prohibited
- Do not swallow water
- Rinse skin off immediately after contact
The following health risks are associated with coming in contact with the algae:
- Contact with these algae can cause skin and eye irritation.
- Ingesting small amounts can cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Ingesting large amounts of toxins may cause liver or neurological damage.
- Inhaling water spray with algae in it can cause asthma-like symptoms.
- Small children and pets are more susceptible to the effects of toxins than adults.
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