For Immediate Release
May 27, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Watch the Water as Algae Bloom Season Approaches

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is warning you to be on the lookout for algae blooms as the weather warms up and Kansans spend more time engaging in outdoor recreation at our numerous public lakes. During the months ahead we are asking for your help and heightened awareness.

Algae are microscopic organisms that grow naturally in the ocean and freshwater, but under certain conditions and warmer weather, can grow rapidly. When this happens, blue-green algae can produce toxins capable of causing illness in people and animals.

“Last year our recorded number of cases was higher than previous years, so I strongly urge everyone to check KDHE’s Algae website for advisories before visiting lakes and public water bodies this summer,” explained Dr. Robert Moser, Secretary of KDHE. “KDHE appreciates your cooperation and assistance in making the summer season fun and safe for all Kansans.”

Dr. Moser also noted that a large percentage of the public will report "allergic" type reactions after exposure, such as intestinal problems, respiratory problems or skin irritations.

Attached is a letter Dr. Moser sent out to local health departments and physicians in Kansas earlier this week.

For the latest Algae advisories and warnings around Kansas, visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/algae_advisories.htm.

For more information about blue-green algae, visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.