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Elevated levels of toxic algae at Waituna Lagoon

Monitoring carried out by Environment Southland shows there are still high levels of the toxic algae planktonic cyanobacteria in the Waituna Lagoon in Southland.

Planktonic cyanobacteria (floating or suspended algae) is different to that found in rivers during warmer months, but still produces toxins that can be harmful to people and animals if swallowed, or through contact with skin.

The most likely symptoms are skin rashes and blisters, but can include tummy pain and nausea. People would normally have symptoms within 12 hours of contact with the water.

If you experience health symptoms after contact with contaminated water, visit a doctor immediately. Animals that consume cyanobacteria should be taken to a vet immediately.

With duck shooting season approaching and more people in the lagoon area preparing maimais, people and animals (in particular, dogs), should avoid contact with the lagoon until health warnings are removed. 

For further information, visit Environment Southland’s website www.es.govt.nz.