Correction: A recreational use advisory issued July 1 for part of Upper Klamath Lake misidentified the affected area as Eagle Point rather than areas around Eagle Ridge County Park. The advisory has been corrected; OHA regrets the error.
Upper Klamath Lake: Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued a recreational use health advisory today for areas around Eagle Ridge in Upper Klamath Lake due to the presence of a cyanobacteria bloom and cyanotoxins above recreational use values for human exposure. The lake is in Klamath County.
People should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities, such as water skiing or power boating, in areas of the lake where blooms are, as the major risk of exposure is from ingesting water. These toxins are not absorbed through the skin. However, if you have skin sensitivities you may get a puffy red rash.
Due to very hot weather between the time samples were collected and when OHA received results, people should be aware that the bloom and associated toxins may have spread beyond the area around Eagle Point. OHA recommends that people keep an eye out for visible signs of bloom in other areas of the lake and stay out of the water in locations with visible scum.
People are encouraged to visit Upper Klamath Lake and enjoy activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, bird watching, canoeing and kayaking. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray. Sprays could lead to the risk of inhaling cyanotoxins.
Drinking water directly from areas of the lake affected by a bloom is especially dangerous. Toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters. Contact campground management or the local health department with questions about water available at nearby campgrounds or day use areas.
Not all private treatment systems are effective at removing cyanotoxins. If you do not use a well or public water system and draw in-home water directly from an affected area you are advised to use an alternative water source.
Children and pets
Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and levels of activity. Dogs can get extremely ill and even die within minutes to hours of exposure to cyanotoxins by drinking the water, licking their fur or eating the toxins from floating mats or dried crust along the shore. This is regardless of a recreational use health advisory in place.
Be aware that dogs can become ill and die from water intoxication after drinking excessive amounts of water while swimming or fetching objects for long periods of time. Intoxication is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function resulting from an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Water intoxication and heat stroke can cause similar symptoms as exposure to cyanotoxins.
Exposure to cyanotoxins can be serious and cause a range of symptoms. Symptoms may be similar to food poisoning such as stomach cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms may also be more serious, such as numbness, tingling, dizziness and shortness of breath. These symptoms may require medical attention. Dogs can experience weakness, difficulty walking, seizures, lethargy, loss of appetite and more. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after swimming, seek veterinary treatment as quickly as possible.
Fish caught from areas where cyanobacteria blooms are present may pose unknown health risks. Fat, skin and organs should be removed before cooking or freezing. Toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Fillets should also be rinsed with clean water.