National | Canterbury

Health warning for Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsyth) in Canterbury

A previous health warning for Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsyth).   Source / Canterbury District Health Board

A health warning has been issued after potentially toxic blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) was found in Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsyth) in Banks Peninsula, Canterbury.

Health authorities have said people should avoid the lake and animals, particularly dogs, should not be allowed near the water until the health warning has been lifted.

“People should avoid contact with the water until further notice," Dr Cheryl Brunton, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, said in a statement.

“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 your doctor know if you have had contact with the lake water."

Dr Brunton said no one should drink the water from the lake at any time, "Boiling the water does not remove the toxin.

"Animals that show signs of illness after coming into contact with algal mats or scums should be taken to a vet immediately."

People are advised to avoid consumption of fish and shellfish from the lake as they can concentrate toxins.

If fish are eaten it recommended to remove the gut and liver and wash it in clean water.

This advisory follows a warning earlier today by the Kāpiti Coast District Council about toxic algae n the district's waterways that can be deadly for dogs.