Blue-Green Algae Bloom in Mattawoman Creek, Warn Officials

LA PLATA, Md. (Aug. 14, 2008)—The Charles County Commissioners and the Charles County Department of Health on Thursday issued an advisory about an algae bloom occurring in local waters. Concentrations of a blue-green algae, called Microcystis, have been reported in Mattawoman Creek and the Potomac River.

Microcystis aeruginosa is a naturally occurring algae in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and fresh waters. Blooms of blue-green algae may occur in nutrient rich environments and may become harmful when they occur in high concentrations or if they produce toxins.

When bathers see bright green waters, sometimes with a surface scum that resembles green paint, they are advised to take the following precautions:

-- Do not swim in areas where a bloom of blue-green algae is evident.

-- Do not drink water from an area with the appearance of a blue-green algal bloom If contact is unavoidable, simply wash off with fresh water.

-- If any skin irritation persists, see a physician or healthcare provider.

-- Keep pets and livestock away from bloom areas. Ingesting small amounts of water from bloom areas should not harm pets. Questions regarding any suspected symptoms in your animals should be directed to your veterinarian.

To report human illness from bloom water contact, a fish kill, or a fish health-related event, call the Bay Health Hotline at 1-877-224-4229, 24 hours a day.

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