The City of Laramie warns residents that harmful cyanobacteria have been found in the Laramie River, specifically in the area of Optimist Park located between W. Garfield and Spruce Streets.

According to a press release from the city, "Cyanobacteria, commonly mistaken as algae, are microorganisms that can produce harmful toxins. Under certain conditions, these toxins can pose risks to humans, pets, and wildlife." Cyanobacteria is composed of phytoplankton and is sometimes referred to as 'blue-green algae.'

Due to the presence of cyanobacteria, residents should be cautious when near contaminated water.

How to Identify Cyanobacterial Blooms:

Cyanobacteria blooms share similar characteristics to algae - they can appear blue, green, or reddish in appearance. The blooms tend to look like mats or foam on the surface of the water and can resemble spilled paint. Residents should report any appearance of such blooms immediately for the city to investigate.

Symptoms of Cyanobacteria Exposure:

Cyanobacteria can prove harmful to the health of people and animals exposed to the blooms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of cyanobacteria exposure vary depending on the method of exposure.

External Contact (i.e. Touching/Breathing In) Cyanobacteria

  • Skin Irritation
  • Eye Irritation
  • Nose Irritation
  • Throat Irritation
  • Lung Irritation

Consuming Cyanobacteria (i.e. Swallowing Contaminated Water, Eating Contaminated Fish)

  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Weakness

Tips to Staying Safe Around Cyanobacterial Blooms

The City of Laramie and the Wyoming Department of Health urge Laramie residents to follow these tips when around suspected or confirmed cyanobacterial growths:

  • Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
  • Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration, and/or other treatments will not remove toxins.
  • Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
  • Avoid water spray from the bloom.
  • Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near the bloom, eat bloom material, or lick fur after contact. Pets exposed to cyanobacteria may exhibit fatigue, excessive salivation, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Contact your pet's veterinarian immediately if you suspect cyanobacterial exposure.

If you believe you have been exposed to cyanobacteria and are exhibiting symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.

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