Public health advisory for Kansas Lakes due to blue-green algae

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Written by: Press Release David Elliott
Publication date: 10/27/2022

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have issued several public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae.

A harmful algal bloom (HAB) can look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and can be blue, bright green, brown or red in colour. Flowers can develop quickly; if the water looks suspicious or there is decomposing algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. These toxins can be absorbed through ingestion, inhalation of aerosols, and even skin contact. Symptoms vary depending on the type of exposure (eg, direct contact, ingestion, inhalation) but may include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If you or your dog comes into contact with algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water. Suspected HAB-related health incidents, whether in humans or animals, regardless of season, should be reported to https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/1163.

Active advisories include: Crystal Lake in Anderson County, Ford County Lake in Ford County, Gathering Pond in Geary County, Jerry Ivey Pond in Saline County, Marion Reservoir in Marion County, Melvern Outlet (River) Pond in Osage County, Milford Lake District And in Dickinson and Geary Counties, Milford Lake Zone B in Geary County, Milford Lake Zone C in Geary and Clay Counties, Rooks County State Fishing Lake in Rooks County and South Park Lake in Johnson County and in the watch: Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge) in Osage County and Kingston Lake in Johnson County.

A warning status means that conditions are unsafe for human and domestic animal exposure. Avoid contact with water flow.

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends taking the following actions:

  • Lake water is not safe for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Avoid contact with water.
  • The fish can be eaten if it is rinsed with clean water and only part of the fillet is consumed while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water comes into contact with your skin, wash it off with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas with visible algae buildup.

A monitoring status means that blue-green algae have been detected and that a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to occur. People are urged to avoid areas with algae buildup and to keep pets and livestock out of the water.

During monitoring status, KDHE recommends taking the following measures:

  • The sign will be placed in all publicly accessible places.
  • Water can be dangerous for people and animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not allow people or pets to eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
  • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skis are not recommended near visible flowers.
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water and wash with clean water after each contact.
  • Clean the fish well with drinking water and eat only the fillet portion.

KDHE investigates publicly accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algal blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on credible results of field observations and sampling, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.

If you see a scum or surface similar in color to the water, small floating blue-green clumps or fibers in the water, or if the water is an opaque green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present. Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in or drink water affected by harmful algal blooms or eat dried algae along shorelines can become seriously ill or die.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting a potential harmful algal bloom, visit https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/HAB.

(Information courtesy of KDHE.)

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