Blue-green algae blooms spotted in Madison, prompting return of waterfront closures
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is warning area residents of large blue-green algae blooms in local waterways.
PHMDC closed Spring Harbor Beach for swimming due to the large toxic blooms. According to officials, coming into contact with blue green algae can cause stomach upset, rashes and respiratory irritation.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has investigated and classified numerous incidents of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) illnesses.
|Year||Reported blue-green algae illnesses|
|2020||2 humans, 5 animals|
|2021||3 humans, 1 animal|
|2022||10 humans, 2 animals|
|2023||No humans or animal illnesses reported|
Dogs can also get sick and even die if they ingest the toxic blooms, PHMDC warned.
Local beaches are tested weekly for blue-green algae in the summer months, and if results are concerning, officials will put signs on the beach and update the beach website signifying the closure.
After a waterfront area is closed, Public Health officials monitor the water quality daily until it is safe to reopen.
“Conditions can change quickly, so it’s important to both check the conditions online before you head out. But even if the beach is open, if you see algal blooms in the water, it’s best to stay away,” Microbiologist Jennifer Lavender-Braun said.
For some neighbors like Alon Mirkin, plans for Memorial Day weekend have already moved up north.
“Obviously nobody wants to step foot in the water right now,” Mirkin said.
Officials encourage beach-goers to stay away from algae bloom and to thoroughly rinse off well if near one. Additionally, dogs who were near blooms should be closely watched and taken to a vet if they appear sick.
To report an algae bloom, call (608) 243-0357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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