DHHR Continuing to Monitor Blue-Green Algal Blooms on the Ohio River

Residents Advised to adhere to Public Health Advisory

The West Virginia DHHR, Bureau for Public Health (BHP) is issuing this Public Health Advisory as efforts continue to observe and monitor the movement of blue-green algae on the Ohio River and some of its tributaries. Although many species of algae do not produce toxins and are vitally importnant to marine and fresh-water ecosystems, some species of blue green algae can cause harmful algal blooms.

The blooms have been observed and monitored by BHP on the ground and from the air between Pike Island Locks and Dam on the Ohio River near Wheeling W.Va., downriver to the Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia in coordination with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).

Citizens should be proactive in avoiding water that:

  • Looks like spilled paint
  • Has surface scums, mats or films
  • Is discolored or has colored streaks
  • Has green globs floating below the surface

The Following guidlines are recommended to avoid exposure to HAB’s:

  • Direct contact with affected water
  • Prevent Pets and livestock from coming into contact or ingesting water containing algal blooms.
  • People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma should avoid areas with algal blooms. Children may be particularly sensitive.
  • If contact has been made with water containing algal blooms, wash hands off woth clean water. In some cases, skin irration will appear after prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your health care provider.
  • Fish fillets (not organs) may be consumed after the fillets have been rinsed in clean water.

Information about HAB’s may be found online at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph or by calling your local health department. Water sampling test results may be found at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph