HARRISON (KFSM) – A toxic blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria) has been identified within the Buffalo River.
The toxic blue-green algae has the potential to produce cyanotoxins, which can be harmful to humans and pets, according to a news release sent out by the National Parks Service.
You cannot tell if the algae would produce cyanotoxins just by looking at it.
Sampling of the Buffalo River is being done to determine the abundance of potentially harmful algae and cyanotoxins.
According to the release, a few visitors have reported illnesses after swimming in areas in the Buffalo River with algae this month. The National Parks Service has been working closely with the US Public Health Service and the Arkansas Department of Health to determine the causes of the reported illnesses. Testing so far has not connected the algae with the illnesses.
The National Parks Service and US Public Health Service are encouraging visitors who believe they or their pets have become ill after exposure to the algae in the Buffalo river, to report the illness during business hours to the Arkansas Department of Health Communicable Disease Nurse at 501-537-8969. After business hours please contact the Arkansas Department of Health Emergency Communication Center at 1-800-651-3493. Visitors can also report illnesses at firstname.lastname@example.org.