Swimming still not advised in Pärnu after cyanobacteria found in seawater

Cyanobacteria derive their name from their blue-green color. Picture is illustrative.
Cyanobacteria derive their name from their blue-green color. Picture is illustrative. Source: (Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa/Facebook)

Swimming is still not advised in Pärnu Bay after cyanobacteria was found in the water several weeks ago and is still present in the area, Pärnu City Government said in a statement on Friday.

Cyanobacteria was discovered at Pärnu beach on Aug. 26 and the authorities issued a warning advising visitors not to swim in the water. Since then signs in Estonian and English have been placed on beaches at Pärnu and Valgeranda, warning against swimming and explain what the algae is. 

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, is a bacteria that flourishes in warm nutrient-rich water during periods of warm and quiet weather.

"The algae will not come today or disappear tomorrow, it is a long process. We are in constant contact with the Maritime Institute and act on their recommendations," said Marve Virunurm, an environmental specialist at the City Government.

The effects from the toxic substances produced by the cyanobacteria can vary ranging from skin rashes and irritated ears and eyes, particularly in children and adults with allergies, to diarrhoea, vomiting and fever in more severe cases.

When washed ashore cyanobacteria is recognizable as a blue-green thin layer on sand or rocks.

Blue-green algae is a bacteria phylum that includes approximately 150 genuses and 2,000 species. About 400 species of blue-green algae have been recorded in Estonia to date.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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