Brussels warns people about threat of toxic blue-green algae ‘Cyanobacteria’

Europe: The Port of Brussels is sending a warning to the people living in Brussels about the threat of toxic blue-green algae, which is also known as cyanobacteria.

They mentioned in the statement that the high temperature they had observed over the previous few days, with little rainfall, is the perfect breeding condition for the algae to grow in canals and ponds.

The general population has advised any areas where floating green or bluish algae can be observed. Water enthusiasts in particular, such as fishermen, sailors, rowers and swimmers, should avoid the water as more prolonged exposure can lead to more extreme illness. Meanwhile, swimming in canals is prohibited.

Moreover, it is also firmly advised not to eat fish from the canal, as they may feed off of the algae. As per the authorities, people should not permit their pets to bathe in the water or drink from the affected areas.

According to Brussels Environment, cyanobacteria move with the water’s current. When individual microorganisms occur in large numbers, they appear as a “bloom” or “water blossom.” The blooms appear as a thin, foamy layer on the water’s surface. Colour varieties can be green, blue-green, tan, red or white.

Sometimes, the algae can take on a spherical or thread-like shape. The Brussels Environment has encouraged individuals that if they find any type of algae, they can share the picture to eau_water@environnement.brussels so that researchers can help them to identify it.

Symptoms from ingesting the algae include skin irritation, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and even neurological disorders. For small pets, contact, as well as ingestion of the algae, can lead to death.

Brussels Environment and the Port of Brussels urge those who come into contact with cyanobacteria to consult a doctor as shortly as possible and take their pet to a veterinarian.

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