ODA, ODH monitoring for HAB-related animal illnesses

State Veterinarian Tony Forshey and State Public Health Veterinarian Kathy Smith are alerting veterinarians across Ohio about the hazards of Harmful Algal Blooms. With the apparent increase in the severty and extent of HABs across the state, there have been recent concerns regarding animal health problems and even deaths potentially associated with proliferation of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in some Ohio water bodies. To assess the public health impacts from HABs, the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) created the Harmful Algal Bloom-related Illness Surveillance System (HABISS). HABISS houses data on human and animal HAB-related illnesses (e.g., cyanobacteria poisonings, shellfish poisonings, ciguatera fish poisoning, dermatologic and respiratory complaints) and environmental data characterizing HABs. The primary goal of this surveillance activity is to collect enough data to allow state and local health departments to predict HABs and be proactive in protecting public health. This information may be helpful in identifying harmful algae blooms so the public can take steps to prevent exposure to themselves and their animals. Please read this memo from the State Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian for details. If you suspect a patient has a HAB-related illness or you have received reports of such illnesses, please download and submit a case report form to your local health department.

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