State officials are urging people to avoid contact with potentially harmful algal blooms in Edenton Bay in Chowan County, the Outer Banks Voice reports.
The filamentous blue-green algae, identified as Dolichospermum planctonicum, may produce cyantoxins, which can cause illness in humans and animals. According to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, the toxin can affect kidneys, gastrointestinal tracts, livers and nervous systems.
North Carolina has not reported any cases of illnesses associated with this bloom, but officials encourage residents to follow certain measures to stay safe:
- Keep children and pets away from water that appears bright green, discolored or scummy. Do not handle or touch large mats of algae.
- Avoid handling, cooking or eating dead fish that may be present.
- If you come into contact with an algal bloom, wash thoroughly. Also, use clean water to rinse off pets that may have come into contact with an algal bloom.
- If your child appears ill after being in water containing an algal bloom, seek medical care immediately.
- If your pet appears to stumble, stagger or collapse after being in a pond, lake or river, seek veterinary care immediately.
The Division of Water Resources’ Washington Regional Office staff has been monitoring the blooms, which are present due to hot weather, since June.