Potomac River algae causes rashes, nausea

This algae will make you vomit. (Photo: Flickr/Nat Tarbox)

It's sketchy enough swimming in the Potomac River alongside snakeheads, dead lobsters and sex-changing fish. Now we have to worry about "potentially toxic blue-green algae" that causes rashes, vomiting and, in large doses, damage to the nervous system?


So says WAMU, which reports that such algae blooms were found in the mouth of the Mattawoman Creek near Indian Head and in the Potomac River south of the creek. (It's not the first time the blooms have been spotted in the area.) The Cyanobacteria turns the water bright green, with a surface scum that looks like green paint; despite the name, the blooms may also be red or pink. 

If it's this damaging to humans, you can imagine what it does to dogs and sea otters.

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