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Harmful algal bloom poses health hazard on Ohio River

Health Department discourages recreational activities
A boat on the Ohio River
Posted at 2:42 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 14:42:50-04

CINCINNATI — Health officials are discouraging people from recreational activities on the Ohio River here this weekend because a harmful algal bloom (HAB) poses a health hazard.

The Greater Cincinnati Water Works ensures that drinking water is safe, but the Cincinnati Health Department says anyone boating, swimming or fishing in the Cincinnati vicinity is susceptible until further notice.

“There’s a toxic presence in the river. We don’t know how long that’s going to take to move,” Marla Fuller of the Cincinnati Health Department said Friday.

The CHD won’t have test results until next week, Fuller said.

HABs are made up of blue-green algae, also known as pond scum. Contact can irritate skin and eyes and cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever or difficulty breathing, according to a release. You should bathe immediately if you contact HABs.

The Great Ohio River Swim, originally scheduled for last Sunday, was postponed because of a harmful algal bloom. It was rescheduled for Oct. 13.