Lost Creek Lake hit with second algae warning this summer

High levels of toxin-producing blue-green algae in Jackson County's Lost Creek Lake have prompted officials to issue a health advisory, the lake's second this summer.

Water monitoring at the lake 30 miles northeast of Medford on the Rogue River has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals, Oregon public health officials said in a news release today. The algae levels found in the lake are likely to be associated with dangerous toxin concentrations in the water, according to World Health Organization guidelines.

The lake also was under an algae advisory from June 4-22.

Skin contact, swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided by humans or animals. A dog died in August after swimming in algae-filled water on the South Umpqua River.

Drinking water from Lost Creek Lake could be especially dangerous as the toxins can't be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters, health officials said. Oregon Public Health recommends that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Additionally, people should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish harvested from Lost Creek Lake while this advisory is in effect, officials said. The public will be notified when the advisory is lifted.

People still can visit Lost Creek Lake for activities that avoid water contact, such as camping and hiking.

Exposure to algae-produced toxins can cause 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 particularly susceptible.

— Anita Burke

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