Luxembourg's Ministry of Health has issued an alert concerning the presence of cyanobacteria, also known as "blue-green algae", along the Moselle River.
Cyanobacteria, which have been detected especially in places with slow circulation of water along the Moselle, are a type of bacteria normally present in these waters, but which, under certain conditions, can (as is currently the case) develop excessively and form coloured carpets (blue-greenish colour).
Under these conditions, these bacteria can produce toxins that can cause health problems for humans and animals. Such problems depend on the amount of toxins absorbed but can include skin irritation, headaches, nausea, gastroenteritis, cramps, paralysis and liver damage.
The exact cause of this excessive proliferation is unknown, but often results from an inadequate supply of nutrients for these bacteria, in the presence of a high water temperature.
In this context, the Ministry of Health has recommended that people and animals avoid contact with water where these coloured carpets are present and that they avoid swallowing this water.