Something potentially deadly has been spotted at numerous bodies of water in the state of Rhode Island, prompting a statewide warning.
State officials in Rhode Island have just uncovered a big problem, and they’re warning the public. They’re advising people to stay away from multiple bodies of water in the state after spotting toxic blue-green algae blooms.
The Rhode Island Department of Health and Environmental Management said that toxins had been found in St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth, and at Roosevelt Lake, Elm Lake, and the Japanese Gardens in Providence. These blooms can be incredibly harmful to both humans and pets, so officials are advising people to stay far away.
Ingesting algae blooms or even eating fish from those ponds can result in serious symptoms ranging from diarrhea to vomiting to damage to your liver or nervous system. Children and animals face the greatest risk. If you touch the water, rinse with clean water and clean your clothes, officials advise.
“Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, occurs in both salt and freshwater, but the blooms are of most concern in freshwater ponds and rivers,” according to a statement from the Rhode Island Department of Health. “These blooms look like mats or thick paint on the surfaces of water. Blooms frequently appear blue or green but sometimes appear brown or red. These blooms can be harmful to people and animals. Contact with cyanobacteria can cause skin and eye irritation. Swallowing a small amount of water contaminated with cyanobacteria can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Drinking large amounts may cause liver or neurological damage. Small children and pets are more susceptible to the effects of cyanobacteria than adults. Dogs, in particular, can get very ill and even die from ingesting cyanobacteria, either by directly ingesting it or licking it off their fur.”