MidCentral DHB Public Health is warning people to avoid the Hokio Stream, flowing from Lake Horowhenua, after potentially toxic blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) was found in the stream.
People and animals, particularly dogs, should avoid contact with Hokio Stream.
Dr Robert Weir, Medical Officer of Health, says the algal bloom can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.
He said: "Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately and please let your doctor know if you have had contact with the lake water.”
Dr Weir warns that no one should drink the water from the stream at any time. Boiling the water does not remove the toxin.
"This bloom will be monitored by Horizons Regional Council and the public will be advised of any changes that are of public health significance."
Facts about cyanobacteria:
• The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months.
• If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, avoid all contact.
• Not all cyanobacterial blooms are visible to the naked eye and toxins can persist after the blooms disappear.
• Cyanobacterial concentrations can change quickly with changing environmental conditions (e.g. wind). If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945