Health warning for Lake Pegasus

TOXIC: Phormidium, a toxic algal has been in Lake Pegasus

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

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink said the algal bloom, or planktonic cyanobacteria, could produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.

The lake is in North Canterbury’s Pegasus township.

“People and animals, particularly dogs, should avoid contact with Lake Pegasus until the health warning has been lifted,” Dr Pink said.

“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips. If you experience any of these symptoms visit your doctor immediately and please let them know you have had contact with the lake water.”

It comes after health warnings were issued for both the Hurunui and Cust rivers last month.

A similar health warning was issued for the lake this time last year.

Dr Pink said no one should drink the water from the lake at any time, and boiling it did not remove the toxin.

“This bloom will be monitored on a weekly basis and the public will be advised of any changes that are of public health significance,” he said.