Livestock at Risk from Toxic Algae Outbreak

NEW ZEALAND - Farmers and the general public using the Wairarapa river have been warned to safeguard animals against a toxic algae outbreak.
calendar icon 8 January 2013
clock icon 1 minute read

Cyanobacteria has been found by weekly monitoring of the Waipoua river, reports the New Zealand Herald.

The algae, which has been washing up on the river bank in brown and black clumps, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, skin irritation and other allergy-type symptoms in humans. In livestock and dogs the bacteria is fatal if eaten.

Greater Wellington Regional Council aquatic ecosystems and quality team leader Juliet Milne said warm weather in Wairarapa and the lack of heavy rain in the Waipoua catchment were key factors behind the increase.

"The risk to river users and dogs is likely to remain until there's significant rainfall to flush the algae away."

People should avoid touching or swimming near the algae, and should contact their GP if they suspect a reaction to it.

Dog owners should put their pet on a lead and move away from the river's edge. If they suspect their dog has eaten the algae, they should take their pet to a vet immediately.

Warning signs have been put up at key points along the river.

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