Beware of blue-green algae, KSU expert warns

AP Algae Bloom
A cow wades into a drying pond with algae in a pasture near Tonganoxie, Kan., Tuesday, July 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Beware of the blue-green algae contaminating lakes in Kansas and across the nation.

That’s the message of Kansas State University toxicologist Deon van der Merwe. The associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology says health problems can arise when animals and people come into contact with various toxins produced by the toxic algae.

The most prominent problem involves a toxin called microsystin. It affects the gastrointestinal tract and liver. When animals are exposed to this toxin, they may experience vomiting or diarrhea. If the exposure is severe, it can be lethal and cause liver failure in animals.

Humans can also experience severe effects. But skin rashes, sneezing, coughing, irritated eyes, running noses and eye infections are more common.


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