CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Officials have closed public access to a lake in Virginia’s Albemarle County due to the presence of a harmful algae bloom in the water.
On the county’s website, officials say the algae bloom in Chris Greene Lake is a “naturally occurring circumstance due to recent weather conditions.” Preliminary tests indicate the elevated presence of a type of blue-green algae that can cause rashes and other illnesses.
Authorities say people and pets are prohibited from the lake’s water until concentrations return to acceptable levels.
Algae are essential to food chains, but these tiny plants and bacteria sometimes multiply out of control. A leading cause is often fertilizer runoff.
Within the past decade, outbreaks have been reported in every state, a trend likely to accelerate as climate change boosts water temperatures.
To prevent illness, people should:
– Avoid contact with any area of the pond where water is green or an advisory sign is posted.
– Do not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.
– Keep children and pets out of the HAB water and quickly wash them off with fresh water after coming into contact with algae.
– If you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom, seek medical/veterinarian care.
– If you suspect you experienced health-related effects following exposure to a bloom, contact the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 1-888-238-6154
– To learn more about HABs or to report an algae bloom or fish kill visit: www.SwimHealthyVa.com