Illinois health officials stress awareness of blue-green algae in state waters

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — Illinois officials are reminding people who plan to recreate in lakes and rivers to be cautious about blue-green algae that can cause sickness or other health issues for humans and pets.

The reminder from officials comes after national news of dogs dying after coming into contact with blue-green algae blooms.

Blue-green algae are microscopic organisms that naturally occur in lakes and streams. A rapid growth of the algae is known as a “bloom.” While most blue-green algae are harmless, officials say some can produce toxic chemicals that cause sickness or other health effects in people and pets.

People are being asked to avoid contact with water that:

  • looks like spilled, green or blue-green paint;
  • has surface scums, mats, or films;
  • is discolored or has green-colored streaks; or
  • has greenish globs suspended in the water below the surface

Health officials also advise people not to let their pets drink from the water or lick their fur after swimming in water containing a blue-green algae bloom.

Activities near (but not in or on) a lake or river, such as camping, picnicking, biking, and hiking, are not affected.

Andrew Carrigan

Andrew Carrigan

Assignment Editor

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