Update: Residents advised of potential health risks from algae at Ritchie Lake

UPDATE: 08/30/19

Test results have confirmed that there is no Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) in Ritchie Lake. Cause of death of raccoons found dead in Ritchie Lake in Mid-August is still unknown. We would urge anyone from the community who may know what happened to these raccoons to come forward with information.

The Town of Quispamsis and the Province of New Brunswick are investigating after three dead raccoons were discovered in Ritchie Lake.

The carcasses are being sent to Fredericton for an examination by the province’s veterinary laboratory and pathology services.

The provincial Department of Environment and Local Government took water samples today, and further testing will be done to determine if the algae in the lake contains cyanobacteria. It could take up to a couple of weeks before all test results are received.

“At this time, we don’t know how the raccoons died,” said Mayor Gary Clark. “There is no conclusive evidence. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are advising our residents to be careful at Ritchie Lake.”

Some algae can produce toxins, which can cause skin, eye and throat irritation. More serious health effects such as gastrointestinal illness can occur if toxins are consumed by humans. Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs.

Public Health in New Brunswick recommends the following precautions be taken before participating in recreational water use:

  • Do not swallow lake or river water when swimming, and always supervise young children and pets in recreational waters.
  • Bathe or shower immediately after swimming.
  • Do not enter the water with open cuts or sores.
  • Even if no algae are present, it is recommended you shower with clean water after being in recreational waters.

More information can be found at: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/healthy_environments/content/blue_green_algae.html