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Officials Warn Against Blue-Green Algae Accidental Ingestion

Wisconsin DNR

We're entering into the time when growth of blue-green algae blooms on stagnant water poses a threat to pets and to a lesser degree, humans. The DNR has received reports of blooms on some southern lakes and blooms will continue to appear throughout the state as the summer months continue.

Water Resource Management specialist for the DNR, Gina LaLiberte, says some blooms can produce toxins and if ingested or inhaled. While humans can get sick from the water, the biggest threats are to dogs who will drink water humans won't...

"....it's very important that if you have dogs swimming in a body of water, if the body of water is something humans necessarily wouldn't swim in the dogs should not be swimming..."

LaLiberte says there is a test to see if the water is ok...

".....if an adult can wade into knee-deep water and can't see their feet that indicates that there's a high level of algae in the water. That's when you want to keep small children and dogs out. Either intentionally or not they may drink the water...."

Pets can die from exposure. Humans ingesting the pea-soup like water find common symptoms of exposure include rashes, gastrointestinal ailments and respiratory irritation. People experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider or the Poison Control Center.

DNR will host an online blue-green algae chat July 12 at noon. Participants can log on and ask a panel of experts about blue-green algae and ways to stay safe this summer. To participate, visit the DNR home page, dnr.wi.gov, and click on the graphic or search the phrase "ask the experts."

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