A health advisory is being issued
today due to high levels of blue-green algae in Odell Lake, located off Highway 58 in
Klamath County, about 31 miles
southeast of the Lane County
city of Oakridge.
Water monitoring has confirmed the
presence of very high levels of cyanotoxins produced by blue-green algae. These
dangerous toxin concentrations in the water can be harmful to humans and
Swallowing or inhaling water
droplets, as well as skin contact with water, should be avoided. Drinking water
directly from Odell Lake is especially dangerous.
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.
The public will be advised when
the concern no longer exists.
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 draw in-home water
directly from Odell Lake 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. If people on public water systems have questions about treatment
and testing, they should contact their water supplier.
Oregon health officials recommend
that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present
remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, because toxins are more likely
to collect in these tissues.
Public health officials also
advise that people not eat freshwater clams or mussels from affected water, and
that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations do not allow the
harvest of these shellfish from freshwater sources. Crayfish muscle can be
eaten, but internal organs and liquid fat should be discarded.
With proper precautions to avoid
water contact, people are encouraged to visit Odell Lake and enjoy activities such as
camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing and bird watching. Boating is safe
as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray, which could lead to
For local information about water
quality or blue-green algae sampling, contact the U.S. Forest Service at 541-433-3200.
For health information, to report
human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions about a news release,
contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. Also contact the Oregon
Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767 or visit www.healthoregon.org/hab and select “Algae Bloom Advisories,” for information regarding
advisories issued or lifted for the season.
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