BATAVIA, Ohio (Sept. 11, 2015) – Local public health officials have issued a recreational public health advisory for the Ohio River as a result of microcystin levels tested in river water samples. Microcystin is a toxic chemical produced by cyanobacteria, often called blue-green algae. Some species of blue-green algae cause harmful algal blooms (HABs) which produce toxins like microcystin, which can make people and pets sick, depending upon the amount and type of exposure.
An advisory means toxin levels exceed the recommended threshold. Swimming or wading is not recommended for the elderly or very young and people with compromised immune systems.
Multiple state and local organizations including Clermont County Public Health, Cincinnati Health Department, Northern Kentucky Health Department, Hamilton County Public Health, Ohio EPA, Greater Cincinnati Water Works Department (GCWW), Kentucky Division of Water, and Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) – are continuously monitoring and analyzing the presence of algae in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky portion of the Ohio River.
Last weekend, health officials urged residents to use caution when swimming or doing other recreational water activities as weather conditions were favorable for HABs to bloom in the Ohio River.
HAB toxins can cause a rash, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and more severe symptoms at elevated levels of exposure. Seek immediate medical attention if you become sick after recreating on the Ohio River.
For tips to avoid becoming ill from contact with blue-green algae, visit the Clermont Public Health website at http://www.clermonthealthdistrict.org/.