in-nb-algea-alert

A health advisory sign at Chamcook Lake. (Rachel Cave/CBC)

The Department of Health is urging the public to use caution while swimming because of a possible blue-green algae outbreak.

Dr. Eilish Cleary, the chief medical officer of health, said blue-green algae is a particular concern because it can cause skin, eye and throat irritation. If ingested, it could lead to more serious problems.

Cleary said the blooms can be found in lakes and other bodies of water in the summer or early fall.

People should avoid going into or drinking the water in areas where blue-green algae is suspected.

"Often times blooms are localized, because one part of the lake is affected it doesn't mean ... that you can't use the whole thing for recreational purposes," said Karen White, a spokesperson with the Department of Health.

"Do not swim where you see what might look like an algae bloom."

The algae is often a blue green colour, with a paint like scum.

Suspected algae blooms should be reported to local officials.

Moncton's Irishtown reservoir has had problems with algae blooms in recent years.