Argentine vacationers can catch diseases other than COVID-19, which can even bring on worse symptoms, it was reported after the Health Ministry announced it had detected cyanobacteria in AMBA (City of Buenos Aires and territories around it) and in the provinces of Entre Ríos, Córdoba and Santa Fe
The Ministry issued a warning and asked the population to be extremely careful when exposed to the blue-green algae that release toxins in waters that during the summer season are commonly used to cool off and constitute a potential threat to environmental and human health.
According to the Ministry, the presence of cyanobacteria has been detected on the coasts of the Río de La Plata, in Berisso and Ensenada (south of the City of Buenos Aires) and Tigre (north); in addition to several ponds and lagoons in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santa Fe as well as in the Entre Ríos Uruguay River shore.
The Ministry also explained the toxins these bacteria release can cause a wide variety of gastrointestinal, respiratory, neurological, skin, ear, and eye infections. The most common symptoms are diarrhoea, skin rashes, ear pain, cough and eye irritation.
Exposure to cyanobacteria can occur both by ingesting contaminated water and by inhaling the aerosols that these waters give off. In addition, there is also the possibility of infection if the person entering the water has any open cuts or wounds.
“Minors, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system or who have a previous health problem are the risk groups with the highest probability of contagion. In these cases, it is advisable to consult a doctor before swimming in natural waters,” the Health Ministry warned. It also recommended people to check whether beaches were closed or under warning for health or safety reasons, especially after heavy rain.
Droughts and low water levels, pollution due to anthropic activity, high seasonal temperatures, together with the impacts derived from climate change contribute to the excessive flowering of this type of algae, the Ministry said.