Jamaica Pond Closed Due to Suspected Blue-Green Algae Outbreak
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has temporarily closed Jamaica Pond due to a suspected outbreak of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria.
The BPHC issued a public health advisory Monday based on initial inspections, and urged people not to swim, fish, or boat in the water; come in contact with water on shore; or allow pets to drink or play in the water. Testing will be completed Wednesday, but the pond will likely remain closed until at least two consecutive weekly tests come back in compliance with the Department of Health’s standard for safe algae levels.
Blue-green algae, which gives water a murky, green tint, produces toxins that can sicken both humans and animals either by skin contact or consumption. Depending on the level of toxins present in the algae and surrounding water, symptoms can include skin and eye irritation, respiratory issues, vomiting, diarrhea, and—in very severe cases—potentially fatal decreased liver, kidney, and neurological function. Small pets are particularly at risk.
If you have touched blue-green algae, rinse it off as soon as possible. If you think you may be experiencing any of the above symptoms, call your doctor immediately. Last, if your pets, particularly dogs, have been exposed to algae and are vomiting, staggering, drooling excessively, or convulsing, contact a veterinarian.