NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The same type of harmful bacteria that shut down swimming at several New Jersey lakes this summer has been found in New York City.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports the discovery could present a serious danger to children and pets.
The lakes in New York City’s parks is usually picturesque, but lurking on the surface of some now are harmful algae blooms.
“I never really thought it was harmful to anyone or animals. Just thought it was part of nature,” Tonya Sullivan said.
The toxic algae cyanobacteria has already shut down New Jersey beaches and lakes, including parts of Lake Hopatcong.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation confirms cyanobacteria is blooming in Central Park’s Turtle Pond and Harlem Meer.
It’s also been discovered in Prospect Park Lake, where the DEC says the most recent tests show dangerously high levels of toxins.
“Especially with my daughter here I wouldn’t want her to get splashed with something that’s gonna hurt her,” Sullivan added.
Touching or ingesting the toxic algae can cause a skin rash, digestive issues, and eye infections. It’s even more harmful to pets.
Earlier this month in North Carolina, three dogs died just hours after their owner says they went swimming in a lake contaminated with cyanobacteria.
“It smells pretty bad to start and it’s never very clean,” Debra Tampubolom said.
Tampubolom says she doesn’t let her dog anywhere near the waters in Central Park.
“It’s pretty common sense to keep them out of there.”
“I always make sure he doesn’t go in the water,” pet owner Sijie Chen added.
The parks department prohibits people and pets from swimming in these bodies of water regardless of algae. Now, they’ve posted additional caution signs to keep out.
Unfortunately, with the ducks and the turtles, some kids struggle to stay away.
“We have to be careful otherwise he might actually go in,” parent Eduardo Vieira said.
The CDC says if you or your pet come in contact with water that has a toxic algae bloom immediately rinse it off with fresh water.
If you think your pet has swallowed the contaminated water, bring them to a vet or call poison control.