Training Overview

  • Audience: Public health professionals charged with overseeing recreational water bodies in Massachusetts and anyone interested in learning more about cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms.
  • Format: Online, self-paced
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Contact hours: Massachusetts CHO and RS, National Environmental Health Association REHS/RS
  • Competencies: Environmental Science
  • Learning level: Awareness
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Companion trainings:
  • Supplemental materials:

Cyanobacteria, while bacteria, are also called blue-green algae. They are microscopic and photosynthetic organisms found naturally in all types of water. While not typically visible to the human eye, under certain environmental conditions, cyanobacteria can experience explosive growth and become visible. This visible growth is referred to as a harmful algae bloom (HAB) or CyanoHAB. Some species of cyanobacteria produce toxins, called cyanotoxins. There are public health concerns for humans and animals from cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins. Local boards of health (LBOH) may be called upon to investigate freshwater bodies and to determine if CyanoHABs are present. This training will provide an overview of cyanobacteria and CyanoHABs, outline processes and procedures for LBOH to follow, and provide resources that can aid LBOH in resolving this complex public health issue.

Enroll To receive a certificate of completion. This requires registration to establish a learner profile and completion of pre- and post-tests
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What you’ll learn

After completing this training, you will be able to:

  • Explain what cyanobacteria is and what causes CyanoHABs
  • List the routes of exposure and public health impacts of cyanobacteria and CyanoHABs
  • Cite LBOH authority for managing CyanoHABs
  • Identify, report, and manage CyanoHABs
  • Give examples of ways to prevent the occurrence of CyanoHABs

Subject Matter Experts

  • Logan Bailey
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH)
    Environmental Toxicology Program, Recreational Water Quality Section Leader

  • Irena Draksic, MDPH, BEH
    Environmental Analyst
    Environmental Toxicology Program


This work is supported by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement “Strengthening environmental health capacity to detect, prevent, and control environmental health hazards through data-driven, evidence-based approaches” (CDC-RFA-EH20-2005) to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (6 NUE1EH001400-02-01). The content does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or the US Department of Health and Human Services.


Posted 4 months ago on