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  • Last modified 2681 days ago (July 15, 2011)

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Toxic algae close county lake

All of Marion County Lake is closed to swimmers and water skiers until Monday because of a blue-green algae bloom.

Lake manager Steve Hudson closed the lake to water sports Thursday afternoon after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommended that the county prohibit all water-contact sports until the blue-green algae contamination subsides.

Water samples collected on Monday indicated a bloom was at a dangerous level that could cause illness in humans if ingested.

Fishing and boating continue to be allowed.

The lake’s status is likely to remain unchanged until another test is conducted Monday.

Beaches at Marion Reservoir , which also has had blue-green algae problems, remain open, and all sporting activities are continuing there. Park rangers are testing the reservoir daily and have reported no danger at this time.

This is the first summer Marion County Lake has had an outbreak of the potentially poisonous algae. It and the reservoir both were closed the weekend of June 25 and 26 because of algae blooms. Previously, only the beach area at the county lake had been closed.

“Right now we’re fighting the weather,” Hudson said.

In contrast to the federal reservoir, the county lake is a stagnant pool, allowing the algae to spread.

Check this website for updated information as it becomes available.

Background

According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment, common symptoms of blue-green algae exposure include:

Respiratory

  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

Dermatologic (skin)

  • Itchy skin
  • Red skin
  • Blistering
  • Hives
  • Other rashes

Other

  • Earache
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye irritation

Blue-green algae first was reported in Marion Reservoir in 2003, at the time imperiling the water supply of the cities of Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody. Municipal water supplies have not been threatened by recent outbreaks.

Some blue-green algae produce toxins, including toxins that affect the brain and other organs.

Worldwide, several cases of human and animal poisoning, including some deaths, have been documented. Blue-green algae also has been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Last modified July 15, 2011

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