Officials are warning residents of a bacteria outbreak found in parts of the Charles River that can be dangerous for humans and animals.
The Charles River Watershed Association says that tests confirmed a cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, outbreak in the river's lower basin downstream of the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge.
Cyanobacteria can produce toxins that are harmful to humans, dogs and wildlife by causing eye, ear and skin irritation, according to the association. Though you may not be swimming in the Charles, experts warn that dogs who drink or swim in the river can become sick.
Officials are warning people to avoid the infected areas, including boating during the bloom or even in an area not currently affected, and to rinse off after any contact with the bacteria.
"There is some concern that the toxins and bacteria can become airborne, so even if you aren't necessarily swimming or drinking the water, you still may be exposed to it," Elisabeth Cianciola, an aquatic scientist with the Watershed Association, told NECN.
The outbreak is expected to last another two to four weeks, NECN reported. Because cyanobacteria are most likely to release toxins as they die off, the health risks persist even as cell counts decline to safe levels, according to the Charles River Watershed Association.