MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Health Department is also continuing to closely monitors swimming beaches throughout the county because of high levels of blue-green algae. Several beaches have already been shut down, including Mayville Beach on Chautauqua Lake.
These algae are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers but blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scum on the surface of the water. These blooms may appear thick like pea soup, like green paint, or like grass clippings on the water.
County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the algae can threaten health when people or pets drink or ingest water where a bloom is occurring, which can affect both the nervous system and liver.
Contact such as swimming or showering with water that contains high levels of toxin should also be avoided as it can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat and inflammation in the respiratory tract and could accidentally be ingested.
For more information from the Health Department about blue-green algae and Chautauqua County beach closings, please visit www.myhealthycounty.com or call 1-866-604-6789.