RI Issues Warning Over Blue-Green Algae in Warwick Pond

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The Rhode Island Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management are advising people to avoid contact with  the water in Warwick Pond in Warwick due to a detected blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria) bloom in the pond. Blue-green algae causes toxins that can harm humans and animals. People should also be careful not to ingest water or eat fish from the pond. Pets can also be affected by exposure to the algal toxins and thus owners should not allow pets to drink this water or swim in the water. It is likely the advisory will remain in effect through November 1, 2015.

Irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and or throat are common side effects that result from skin contact with water containing algal toxins. If water containing algal toxins is ingested, health effects include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Young children and pets are more at-risk to algal toxins than adults, since they are more likely to drink contaminated water. Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. People who have been swimming in or otherwise in contact with Warwick Pond and experience those symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.