The health advisory for toxic blue-green algae issued June 24 for Howards Bay in Upper Klamath Lake has been updated to include all of Agency and Upper Klamath lakes, according to a news release from the Oregon Health Authority.
Samples collected at several locations have confirmed the presence of high levels of blue-green algae that can be associated with toxin concentrations that can be harmful to humans and animals.
Swallowing water while swimming or inhaling water droplets as a result of high-speed water activities, such as water skiing and power boating, should be avoided in areas where blooms are identified. Although toxins are not absorbed through the skin, people who have skin sensitivities may experience a puffy, red rash at the affected area.
Drinking water directly from Agency and Upper Klamath lakes is especially dangerous at this time. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other recreational visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.
People who may draw in-home water directly from Agency or Upper Klamath lakes are advised to use an alternative water source because private treatment systems are not proven effective at removing algae toxins. However, public drinking water systems can reduce algae toxins through proper filtration and disinfection.
Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen. Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity. People who bring their pets fishing with them should take special precautions to keep them from drinking from or swimming in Agency or Upper Klamath lakes.
The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.
For health information or to report an illness, to include your pet, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400.
To find out if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body, visit http://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/HarmfulAlgaeBlooms/Pages/index.aspx or call the Oregon Public Health Division at 877-290-6767.