CASPER, Wyoming. – With the onset of the summer season in Wyoming, the public is urged to avoid and report any suspected harmful algal blooms and report any possible disease related to the bloom to state officials.
“Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can form harmful cyanobacteria (HCB) blooms that produce toxins and other irritants that pose a risk to human and animal health.” Wyoming’s Environmental Quality Department said on Friday.
“Harmful cyanobacteria blooms” usually occur when the water temperature rises in still or slow-moving waters, or when winds push cyanobacteria towards the shores. Such flowers were confirmed in 21 Wyoming water bodies in 2020. Bloom was also confirmed in early 2021 at Keyhole Reservoir.
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The flowers are “usually blue or green in color and can appear as green water, small clippings of grass, scum, floating mats, or paint spilled on the water’s surface,” says the. Wyoming DEQ.
They can also attach to rocks, sediments, or plants in water bodies. Blooms can impact waters from days to months, according to the Wyoming DEQ.
People who observe suspected blooms or related illnesses are urged to report this information to WyoHCBs.org. This will notify both the Wyoming DEQ and the Wyoming Department of Health.
“Once reported, WDH may follow up on potential illnesses related to HCB and DEQ will investigate potential blooms to determine if they are harmful,” said Friday’s announcement. “As stated in Wyoming HCB Action Plan, the WDH will issue advisories for bodies of water where cyanobacteria or toxins may present a risk to people who come into contact with the water.
“A proliferation advisory is issued for a body of water when a proliferation of cyanobacteria is present. A toxin advisory is issued for a body of water when toxin concentrations exceed recreational thresholds. A map of reviews and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) is available at WyoHCBs.org. “
No flowering has yet been listed on the site for the summer of 2021.
If flowers are present, people should:
- Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
- Avoid ingesting the flowering water. Boiling, filtration, or other treatments will not remove toxins.
- Rinse the fish in clean water and eat only the portion of fillet.
- Avoid splashing water from flowering.
- Prevent pets or livestock from drinking water near flowering, eating flowering material, or licking fur after contact.
If people, pets or livestock come in contact with a flower, rinse them with clean water as soon as possible.
“Seek medical attention or a veterinarian if a person or animal exhibits adverse health effects after exposure to an overgrowth of cyanobacteria,” the Wyoming DEQ said. “Young children, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and animals are particularly at risk. Questions regarding general health risks and symptoms associated with an overgrowth of cyanobacteria can be directed to Courtney Tillman, Surveillance Epidemiologist with WDH at 1-877-996-9000. Health information is also available at https://www.cdc.gov/habs/. “
“For more information, visit the Wyoming HCB web page at WyoHCB.“
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