The Boston Public Health Commission announced yesterday that a bloom of toxic blue-green algae means Jamaica Pond's water is no longer safe to go in or fish in.
These blooms may produce toxins that can make people and pets sick. Park visitors are urged to avoid contact with the water and any areas of algae concentration, even on shore.
That means no boating or fishing. Dog owners and parents should make sure to keep their pets and children out of the water - and wash them down should they get in anyway.
Pond regulars began noticing the pond's normally clear water turning a sickly shade of green several weeks ago. Last year's bloom of the microorganism, also known as cyanobacteria, didn't start until mid-July. It didn't dissipate until September.
The commission adds:
Contact may cause skin and eye irritation, and inhalation can cause respiratory irritation and exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions. Toxins are not absorbed through the skin. Ingestion of blue-green algae can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. If the blue-green algae are producing toxin(s), the health effects can be more serious, especially for small pets due to their smaller body weights. Ingestion of the toxins can cause acute gastrointestinal distress and, depending on the specific toxin, can affect the functioning of the liver, kidneys, and/or neurological systems and in severe cases can result in death.
Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog has been around an algae bloom and shows symptoms such as vomiting, staggering, drooling, or convulsions. These symptoms present themselves soon after exposure. Dogs have been known to eat the scum that washes ashore and/or lick scum out of their fur.