Health advisory issued for Upper Klamath Lake

Upper Klamath Lake (photo: Bureau of Reclamation)

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – Officials issued a health advisory for Upper Klamath Lake due to the presence of harmful algae blooms.

The Oregon Health Authority said they’ve detected the presence of cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce in the lake.

People are advised to avoid swimming and high-speed water activities, where microscopic water particles could be accidentally ingested or inhaled. While toxins are not absorbed through the skin, people with sensitive skin could develop a rash if they come into contact with affected water.

“OHA public health officials advise campers and other recreational visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters,” OHA said. Drinking water from the lake is especially dangerous.

If anyone decides to eat fish from the lake, it’s important that all skin, fat and organs be removed, as they could be toxic.

“Exposure to toxins can produce a variety of symptoms including numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention,” health officials wrote. “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 to Eagle Ridge County Park for recreation activities should take special precautions to keep them from drinking from or swimming in the lake.”

Further information can be found at http://www.healthoregon.org/hab

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