A health warning has been issued for Lake Ohakuri after potentially toxic blue-green algae was found.

Routine monitoring results provided by the Waikato Regional Council have confirmed the finding.

Tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems are only some of the possible effects of the toxin transfered through water. Contact with water affected by blooms of blue-green algae can cause asthma and hayfever attacks in some individuals.

It could also cause skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.

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Bay of Plenty Medical Officer of Health Dr Neil de Wet said people should not be in contact with any of this lake water, and any activity which resulted in contact with the water.

"With high levels of blue-green algae in the lake, activities such as water skiing could expose people to toxins when in the water as well as through inhaling droplets of water spray," he said.

Signs would be put up at Lake Ohakuri to inform people about the algal bloom.

de Wet advised the public to keep an eye out for signs of algal blooms if using lakes in our region.

"Algal blooms can develop rapidly and unpredictably and can sometimes produce toxins that are harmful for people as well as animals.

"If the water looks discoloured, has an unusual smell, or has green or brown particles floating in it then it is best to avoid contact with it."

Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels:
- Phone: 0800 221 555
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