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Health warning issued for Lake Okaro

Monday, 9 July 2012 3:00 p.m.

The Medical Officer of Health has issued a health warning for Lake Okaro near Rotorua as there is an ongoing risk of algae blooms in the lake.

An algal bloom usually results in a pea-green or brownish appearance of the water often with clumping of algae at the lake edge.  Blue green algae are capable of producing harmful toxins at any time. 

Exposure to the toxins through skin contact or swallowing the affected water, can result in significant symptoms including an acute asthma attack, skin rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea, tingling and numbness, or difficulty with breathing.

"People who use the lake should avoid recreational water contact if they see a bloom in the water, if the water is discoloured, or there is a foul smell due to decomposing algae," says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health. 

Lake Okaro, near Rainbow Mountain, approximately twenty kilometres to the south of Rotorua, has a significant recent history of algal blooms reflecting the high level of nutrients contained in the lake sediment.  Signage will be erected at Lake Okaro advising potential lake users of the algal bloom.



For more information please contact:

Dr Phil Shoemack
Medical Officer of Health
Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service
Ph: 07 577 3770
Mob: 021 228 5534