Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 12:18 UK

Public warned about algal blooms

Blue green algae (generic)
Several waters across Tayside are monitored for algal blooms

People across Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross have been warned to be on the lookout for potentially hazardous blue-green algae in waterways.

The tiny organisms can cause skin problems and stomach upsets in humans and can be fatal in animals.

They are a common seasonal occurrence and waters which have been affected by agricultural, domestic or industrial discharges are most at risk.

Watersports have already been banned at Clatto Country Park because of blooms.

Tayside waters which are being monitored for the algae this summer are: Monikie Ponds; Forfar Loch; Rescobie Loch; Clatto Reservoir; Lintrathen Reservoir; Backwater Reservoir; Loch Turret; Loch Lee; Glenogil Reservoir and Den of Ogil Reservoir.

Loch Leven has permanently displayed notices advising the public about the appearance and risks of algal blooms.

The risk to animals like dogs is significant over the summer months as they tend to drink more water in the heat
Dr Julie Cavanagh
NHS Tayside
Dr Julie Cavanagh, from NHS Tayside, said: "We routinely monitor levels of blue-green algae over the warmer months because of the potential health risk to people and to animals.

"Canoeists, wind surfers and swimmers who come into contact with the algal scum or who accidentally swallow affected water can suffer from complaints such as skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, or pains in muscles and joints, which are usually mild, but in some cases, can be severe.

"The risk to animals like dogs is significant over the summer months as they tend to drink more water in the heat and may eat shoreline algal crusts, so dog owners should keep an eye on their pets, especially if they live, or are walking, near water which could be affected."

She reassured the public that drinking water supplies were treated to prevent any harmful effects to health from the algae.

Anyone who finds a loch, pond or river which they suspect is affected by blue-green algae and is not displaying a warning sign, has been urged to contact their local environmental health service.

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