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Health Alert issued over blue-green algae in Lake Okeechobee

Algae stink prompts state of emergency
Posted at 1:39 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 13:39:04-04

The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County has issued a Health Alert over the presence of blue-green algal toxins in Lake Okeechobee.

A water sample taken on June 9, 2021 showed elevated levels of the toxin.

The public is cautioned not to drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.

You are urged to wash your skin and clothing if you come into contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.

Keep pets away from water where algae blooms are present. They are not safe for animals.

Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not remove the toxins.

The department says eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. You should rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water and cook the fish well.

However it is unsafe to consume shellfish from waters with algae blooms.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to DEP, call 855-305-3903.

To report fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 800-636-0511.

Report symptoms from exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison specialist immediately.

Contact your veterinarian if you believe your pet has become ill after consuming or having contact with blue-green algae contaminated water.

If you have other health questions or concerns about blue-green algae blooms, please call the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County Communications Office at 561-671-4014.

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