Division of Water issues caution regarding recreating in Ohio River at Cincinnati area due to Harmful Algal Blooms

The Kentucky Division of Water is issuing a caution regarding recreating in the Ohio River near Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky based on visual observations of harmful algae in the area, cyanobacteria cell counts and cyanotoxin screening data.

Based on the data available at this time, cyanotoxins are present in the Ohio River near
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. Currently, screening-level data indicate cyanotoxin concentrations that are generally below the Kentucky Division of Water’s advisory threshold. However, one data point exceeded that threshold.

Harmful algal blooms and their associated cyanotoxin concentrations can vary throughout a waterbody and have the potential to change rapidly. Ingestion of water containing cyanotoxins may increase the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Skin, eye, and throat irritation and/or breathing difficulties, skin rashes, as well as numbness or tingling of limbs may
also occur after contact.

The Division of Water recommends that individuals should avoid direct contact, including swimming,
wading, paddling, diving, and water skiing, with water that has a visible bloom, unusual color, or where blue-green algae are abundant. People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma should avoid areas with HABs. Children may be particularly sensitive. If contact has been made with water containing blue-green algae, wash off with fresh water. In some cases, skin irritation or rashes may appear after
prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your health care provider.

The Division of Water recommends that people prevent pets and livestock from coming into contact with water where HABs are apparent. Fish fillets (not organs) may be consumed after the fillets have been rinsed in clean, potable water.

The Division of Water and ORSANCO will continue to observe conditions in the river and collect samples for analysis.

For additional information about Harmful Algal Blooms in Kentucky, please visit the Division of Water’s HAB webpage here.

To see all current HAB advisories in Kentucky, please access the Division of Water’s HAB Viewer at http://watermaps.ky.gov/

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