Officials warn swimmers, dog owners of toxic algae bloom in Hopkinton

HOPKINTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Swimmers and dog owners are being urged to avoid the water at Hopkinton State Park amid a toxic blue-green algae bloom, according to state officials.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation said they have found high levels of Cyanobacteria in the reservoir and beach areas.

The state also issued a warning to pet owners to keep their pooches away from the shoreline.

Earlier this month, three dogs in North Carolina died after they swam in a lake that contained the toxic bacteria, according to their owner.

Cyanobacteria can live in both fresh and saltwater, according to health officials. It typically multiplies and blooms when the water is warm.

Drinking or even swimming in the infected water can lead to nausea, fever, headaches, diarrhea and mouth ulcers, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The blue-green algae has also bloomed in New Jersey lakes and even in New York City parks.

“I just never really thought that it was harmful to anybody or animals,” one woman said. “I just thought it was part of nature.”

The Department of Public Health will continue to retest the bacteria levels at the state park until they are within the state’s acceptable limits.

Until then people and their pets should avoid all contact with the water.

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