Officials warn of potentially harmful algae bloom at Veteran's Park lagoon

Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 07:14:35-04

The City of Milwaukee Health Department is warning residents about blue-green algae in the Veteran’s Park Lagoon.

Tests by the city officials and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Public Health School revealed high levels of cyanobacteria.

The bacteria can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested so the department is asking that people take precautions. Today’s press release included the following tips:

To protect yourself, family, or pets from illness:

  • Do not touch mats of algae, scum layers, foam, or other visible blooms of blue-green algae.
  • Do not swim in areas where water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water’s surface.
  • Do not eat fish from or drink water that appears foamy or scummy.
  • Do not let dogs drink or swim in lake water during an algal bloom
  • Always wash your hands or shower off with soap and water after participating in recreational water activities.
  • Always wash pets with clean water immediately if he/she swims or wades in water during an algal bloom.

St. Paul Veterinary Clinic Dr. Zachary Ricek says dogs will likely exhibit signs of sickness from the bacteria within 15 to 30 minutes of exposure. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and general weakness.

“It’s really hard to tell the difference between safe and dangerous algae, so if there is a bloom it’s better to avoid it all together,” said Ricek.

If your dog does exhibit signs of sickness Rieck says, “rush them to the emergency room and they might have a chance but there is no guarantee they will survive it.”

The health department says no one has reported a sickness from the algae bloom yet. Signs warning park visitors to the blue-green algae bloom are expected up soon according to the department.