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Algae Bloom Threatens Leamington Beach

Thursday July 30th, 2015, 11:19am

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NASA satellite image showing Lake Erie on Monday July 27th, 2015

The Health Unit has issued an advisory for Hillman Marsh Beach in Leamington due to the presence of a potential blue-green algae bloom.

The Health Unit says the bloom was visually observed during their routine beach water sample collection for E. Coli bacterial counts.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority has also collected water samples to test for the presence of the microcystins, which is the most common toxin produced during a blue-green algae bloom. The water samples will be analyzed by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change lab to assess the level of microcystins in the water.

Area residents are advised not to swim or play in affected water and to avoid letting pets drink water from the affected beach, as they may suffer serious health risks including death.

The Health Unit says contact with microcystins can produce the following negative health effects in humans:

  • Skin Contact
    • Itchy, irritated eyes and skin if you swim, bathe, or shower in contaminated water.
  • Swallowed
    • Small quantities – headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
    • Large quantities – more serious health effects may occur such as liver damage.

The advisory will remain in effect until test results for microcystins are received from the MOECC lab and reviewed by the Health Unit.

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