NHS Fife warning of blue-green algae at Kingdom’s water courses

NHS Fife is issuing a reminder to people to be on the lookout for blooms of potentially hazardous blue-green algae in the region’s waterways.

By Darren Gibb
Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 11:05 am

Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, are tiny organisms which develop naturally in lochs, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and in the sea.

In still waters, the algae can multiply during the summer to such an extent that it discolours the water, making it appear green, blue-green or greenish brown.

Shoreline mats of blue-green algae may appear and are usually coloured brown to black. Sometimes a scum may form on the surface.

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People are urged to be on the lookout for blue-green algae on the Kingdom's lochs, ponds and reservoirs.

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This scum can appear in different places at different times, but is most commonly found near the shoreline. Blooms can also occur in slow moving burns and rivers.

Dr Esther Curnock, deputy director of Public Health, said: “People and animals can be affected as a result of direct contact with water affected by blue-green algae and we are advising the public to be particularly vigilant as the warm and dry weather continues.

“People who come into contact with the algal scum or who accidentally swallow affected water can suffer from complaints such as skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, or pains in muscles and joints.

“The risk to small animals like dogs is significant and dog owners should prevent their pets from coming into contact with water which could be affected.

“Fish caught in waters affected by blue-green algae should not be eaten and should not be fed to pets.”

Anyone who finds a waterway which they suspect is affected should contact Fife Council’s Building Standards and Public Safety service at: [email protected].

For further information on Blue-Green Algae in Fife, visit: www.fife.gov.uk/bluegreenalgae.