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Cyanobacteria in Freshwater

Topics: Biological Agents, Contaminants and Hazards, Drinking Water, Water

Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, are naturally occurring microscopic organisms found in fresh, brackish, or marine water that can form cyanotoxins. These toxins are a serious public health issue as exposure can cause illness and, in worst case scenarios, can be fatal (Svirčev et al. 2017). Under certain environmental conditions, cyanobacteria multiply quickly and create blooms. Blooms can occur at any time of year, but are more common during summer or early fall (USCDC NCEH 2015), and are predicted to increase in frequency and duration due to climate change impacts (Hamilton et al. 2016). The resources listed here are intended to assist public health practitioners to:

  • Recognise and prevent cyanobacterial blooms;
  • Provide guidance regarding appropriate monitoring, management, and response to a bloom in both drinking and recreational water;
  • Provide guidance on risk communication during a bloom.

NCCEH Resources

  • Cyanobacteria in freshwater (2017)
    This fact sheet provides a brief outline of some of the key points related to cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce.

Selected External Resources

Peer-Reviewed Articles

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Omission of a resource does not preclude it from having value.

Last updatedJun 15, 2017