Among the problems arising from this summer’s extended heat wave is the potential for toxic blue-green algae to show up in lakes and ponds, K-State Extension announced today.


Among the problems arising from this summer’s extended heat wave is the potential for toxic blue-green algae to show up in lakes and ponds, K-State Extension announced today.

“Blue-green algae is typically only a problem during the hottest part of the summer,” said Kansas State University veterinarian Larry Hollis. “It appears that we are seeing an increase in cases this year because f the extended heat period and/or lack of additional rain.”

As in much of the country, July temperatures in Kansas have soared near or above 100 degrees for numerous consecutive days.

The algae are toxic to humans, as well as animals. Livestock species often serve as sentinels for human illness, said Hollis, who specializes in beef cattle care with K-State Research and Extension.

The conditions have prompted the Kansas state public health veterinarian and the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to issue a joint request to Kansas veterinarians, asking that they report suspected illness in animals due to BGA. Such reports go to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Epidemiology Hotline at 1-877-427-7317, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Most of the samples the diagnostic lab has tested so far this summer have had BGA present, sometimes in very high numbers, Hollis said.

More information, including current public health advisories, warnings and instructions on how to report a suspected case of blue-green algae poisoning, is available at the KDHE website:
http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.