Released by: Health Services
For Immediate Release

Health Warning: Keep Animals Away from Russian River

Santa Rosa, CA  –  September 4, 2015  –  blue-green-algae-warning-sign-195.jpg On Friday, September 4, 2015, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services issued a health warning to the public to keep animals away from the Russian River.

Russian River: Blue Green Algae Status Update posted November 4, 2015 

“We received confirmation that a dog that died after significant exposure to the river has tested positive for Anatoxin-A, which is a blue-green algae toxin,” said Dr. Karen Holbrook, Sonoma County Deputy Public Health Officer. “We are warning people to keep animals away from the river and away from isolated side pools of water and algae on the shore.”

Beaches remain open for people, as does recreational use of the river.

Ongoing testing of the water at major beaches and areas where water is flowing have found the water to be safe. The precautions that were posted in August still apply. These precautions include:

  • Do not drink river water or use river water for cooking;
  • Keep children away from algae in the water and on the shore;
  • Do not swim or wade near algae;
  • Do not play in isolated shallow side pools.
  • Clean fish well and safely discard guts 
  • Get medical attention immediately if you think that you, your family, or your pet might be having a reaction. Be sure to tell the medical professional about possible contact with blue-green algae.

Signs are being posted at recreational beaches and along the river in English and Spanish.

The greatest exposure risk is by ingesting blue-green algae, which is why dogs –which are often difficult to control -- are particularly vulnerable. Another area of heightened concern are shallow, stagnant side pools and areas with a lot of algae.

Public Contact Information

If you have concerns regarding your or your family’s health, contact your healthcare provider. If you have concerns regarding your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian.

For questions regarding the status of the Russian River go to the websites listed below or call the recorded beach hotline at (707) 565-6552. To report concerns regarding blue-green algae this weekend and on normal business hours, call 565-6565.

Sonoma County Department of Health, Environmental Health and Safety: http://www.sonoma-county.org/health/services/bluegreen.asp

The following websites provide more information on blue-green algae and harmful algal blooms:

California Department of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/environhealth/water/Pages/Bluegreenalgae.aspx

State Water Resources Control Board: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/bluegreen_algae/


Contact Information

Office of Communications
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Contact us by Phone
Health Services Administration
1450 Neotomas Avenue

Suite 200

Santa Rosa, CA 95405
38.433274, -122.684236