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DHS News Release


July 19, 2005


Media Contact:  Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180


Technical Contact:  Dave Stone, DHS  (503971) 673-0444 Deschutes National Forest Service, (541) 383-5653


Public health advisory issued for eastern half of Odell Lake


A health advisory prompted by high algae levels found in the eastern half of Odell Lake, located 30 miles from Oakridge, was issued today by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), the Deschutes National Forest and the Klamath County Health Department.


Water sampling by the Deschutes National Forest has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals, said Dave Stone, toxicologist with the Oregon DHS.  These algae levels are likely to be associated with dangerous toxin concentrations in the water, according to World Health Organization guidelines.


Swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans or animals.  Drinking water from the eastern half of Odell Lake is especially dangerous.  The toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water.


DHS recommends that if people choose to eat these fish, they should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues.


Symptoms of numbness, tingling, dizziness and  paralysis can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems and require immediate medical attention.  If symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting persist or worsen, people should seek medical attention.  Children and pets are particularly susceptible.


The public will be advised when the advisory is lifted.  


With proper precautions to avoid water contact, people are encouraged to visit the eastern half of Odell Lake and enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, catch-and-release fishing and bird watching.