Studies on cyanobacteria in Vietnam are limited and mainly restricted to large reservoirs. Cyanobacterial blooms in small water bodies may pose a health risk to local people. We sampled 17 water bodies in the vicinity of urban settlements throughout the Mekong basin and in southeast Vietnam. From these, 40 water samples were taken, 24 cyanobacterial strains were isolated and 129 fish, 68 snail, 7 shrimp, 4 clam, and 4 duck samples were analyzed for microcystins (MCs). MCs were detected up to 11,039 µg/L or to 4033 µg/g DW in water samples. MCs were detected in the viscera of the animals. MC-LR and MC-RR were most frequently detected, while MC-dmLR, MC-LW, and MC-LF were first recorded in Vietnam. Microcystis
was the main potential toxin producer and the most common bloom-forming species. A potential health hazard was found in a duck–fish pond located in the catchment of DauTieng reservoir and in the DongNai river where raw water was collected for DongNai waterwork. The whole viscera of fish and snails must be completely removed during food processing. Cyanobacterial monitoring programs should be established to assess and minimize potential public health risks.
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