TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) issued the state’s first public health advisory for the year.

Melvern Lake in Osage County is under a warning due to blue-green algae, which indicates the conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure.

The health advisory will be lifted in consultation with the lake manager when the bloom has dissipated

A harmful algal bloom (HAB) may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms can develop rapidly; if the water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. The toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact. 

Symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure (e.g. direct contact, ingestion, inhalation) but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache.

If you, or your dog, come into contact with algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water

The water recreation season in Kansas officially runs from April 1 to the end of October, as do the harmful algae blooms response program’s active operations. 

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, click here.