For Immediate Release
August 19, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Recommends People, Pets Stay Out of Water When Blue-Green Algae is Present

Veterinarians Confirm 1 Dog Dead Due to Exposure

Topeka—The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in conjunction with the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, can confirm that toxic blue-green algae is responsible for the death of one dog and suspected death of two others. The two dogs suspected of blue-green algae poisoning are presently undergoing testing at the K-State Laboratory. In all three instances, the dogs had been in the water at Milford Lake, which is in Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties.

“We were deeply sorry to hear of the loss of a beloved pet,” said Dr. Ingrid Garrison, State Public Health Veterinarian. “We urge people, and their pets, to avoid contact with water where harmful algae blooms are present. If your pet has been in contact with water that has a toxic blue-green algae bloom, immediately rinse them off with fresh water and contact your veterinarian.”

Garrison said veterinarians should report any suspect blue-green algae-related illness in animals as it can serve as a sentinel for human illnesses. The Animal Illness Reporting Form can be found at

Since May, when blue-green algae was first detected during the 2011 season, there have been 17 reported cases of human illness after exposure to blue-green algae. KDHE cannot confirm these cases are a direct result of blue-green algae exposure because external factors like medical history could be an underlying cause.  

“We are testing bodies of water across the state and alerting Kansans as soon as we see a blue-green algae spike,” explained Tom Langer, Director for the Bureau of Environmental Health. “Visitors to the lake should be very careful. Check our website often, look for posted signs at lakes; take the extra time to make sure your site doesn’t have a blue-green algae problem.”

Based upon sampling results and established health risk levels, the following warnings and advisories are in place.
WARNING: High levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected at the following public waters. A Public Health Warning indicates that water conditions are unsafe and direct water contact (wading, skiing and swimming) should not occur. Current concentrations of algae in these waters exceeded the KDHE recommended level of less than 100,000 cells/ml for recreational water use. 

Kansas public waters currently under warning:

Santa Fe Lake, Augusta, Butler County

Memorial Park Lake, Great Bend, Barton County

Rigg’s Park Lake, Haysville, Sedgwick County

Warnock Lake, Atchison County

Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County

Augusta City Lake, Augusta, Butler County

Logan City Lake, Phillips County

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:


ADVISORY: Harmful blue-green algae has been detected at the following public waters. A Public Health Advisory indicates that a hazardous condition exists. Water activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however, direct contact with water (wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people and pets. Additionally, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken: do not drink the lake water; clean fish well and consume only the fillet portion, discarding all other parts and keep pets from having contact with or drinking the lake water.

Kansas public waters currently under advisory:

Big Hill Reservoir, Labette County

Marion County Lake, Marion County

Hillsdale Lake, Miami County

Milford Lake, Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties

Cheney Lake,  Reno, Kingman and Sedgwick Counties


KDHE will continue to monitor these public waters and will update these statements as conditions warrant.

More information on algae and algae blooms, including up-to-date conditions, can be found at the following links: |