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Health warning issued for Shuswap Lake after algae bloom partially washes ashore

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District said the bloom is suspected to be cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, and is approximately 30 metres wide. Columbia Shuswap Regional District

Regional officials have issued a health warning for part of Shuswap Lake.

On Thursday, the Columbia Regional District posted the warning, stating that a suspected blue-green algae bloom has partially washed ashore southwest of Herald Park.

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Citing Interior Health, the regional district said effectively immediately, the public is advised not to drink water directly from the lake in the bloom’s vicinity, near Ashby Point, and to avoid touching the algae.

A map showing the approximate location of the suspected blue-green algae bloom. Columbia Shuswap Regional District

“Citizens should not wade or swim in the area of the bloom and should prevent pets from ingesting any water or swimming nearby,” said the regional district.

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“They are also advised not to fish or consume fish caught in the area.”

The regional district said the bloom is suspected to be cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green algae), and has a mass of approximately 30 metres wide.

It’s not known how long the area will be affected.

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According to the regional district, some blue-green algae blooms can produce chemicals that are poisonous if swallowed by people, pets or livestock.

“Blooms can cover the surface of the water and may look like thick pea soup,” said the regional district. “Not all blooms, however, are easy to see.

“Toxins can still be in the water even if you cannot see the bloom.

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The regional district said symptoms of exposure to blue-green algae can include headaches, nausea, fever, sore throat, dizziness, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and blistering the mouth and lips.

Another view of the suspected blue-green algae bloom. Columbia Shuswap Regional District

If you have been exposed to blue-green algae and have symptoms, you are asked to contact your health care provider right away.

For more about blue-green algae, click here.

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