BATAVIA, OH – Harsha Lake at East Fork State Park is currently under a recreational public health advisory. Citizens are being urged to avoid getting in the water, due to the presence of a harmful algal bloom (HAB). The blooms are caused by a type of blue-green algae that can produce toxins known as microcystins. These organisms are found naturally in lakes and rivers, but they become dangerous at high concentrations. When the toxin levels reach a level higher than 20 parts per billion, the water is considered hazardous. Based on a June 9 water sample conducted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, levels at three locations in the lake measured 50 parts per billion.
During an algae bloom, the water can look blue or green, look like spilled paint, or have a thin film on top of the water, and have a bad smell. Unlike some kinds of bacteria that can be found in water sources, the HAB toxins do not have to be swallowed. Just touching the water with exposed skin can cause a person to get sick. If you have touched the HAB affected water, you should rinse off with clean water immediately. Pet owners are also encouraged to rinse off their pets if they have been swimming in the affected water.Symptoms of HAB exposure include:· Skin rashes, hives, or blisters· Runny eyes and nose, sore throat, or asthma-like symptoms· Diarrhea and vomiting· Abdominal pain· Dizziness, weakness, breathing difficultiesAnyone who has been swimming, in the lake and is experiencing any of these symptoms, should call their physician.For more information on the testing of harmful algal blooms at East Fork State Park, or any public beach in Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Health's Beachguard website.
Harmful Algal Blooms
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