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Public health advisory issued for potentially harmful algae on Morrison Lake

Morrison Lake harmful algae.JPG
Posted at 2:10 PM, Jul 01, 2021

MORRISON LAKE, Mich. — The Ionia County Health Department is warning the public about potentially harmful algae in Morrison Lake.

The health department has issued a public health advisory for Morrison Lake after areas of the lake were tested and confirmed to have potentially harmful algae present.

People and pets should avoid direct contact with scummy water in the lake, with water that looks like spilled paint, and water that has a green sheen to it. The Ionia County Health Department says the scum may contain flecks, foam or clumps.

The health department says people and pets should not swallow the lake water.

The public health advisory was issued following the testing of water samples taken on June 30.

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While most algal blooms are not harmful, some are able to produce toxins that can result in a harmful algal bloom (HAB).

The type of toxin that can produce a HAB was detected in 5 of 8 samples taken from Morrison Lake.

The toxin can affect the liver, nervous system and/or skin.

People and pets can experience the following symptoms after contact with an algal bloom:

  • Skin contact may cause: Rashes, hives, or skin blisters (especially on the lips and under swimsuits).

Breathing aerosolized (suspended water droplets) lake water mist from recreational activities and/or lawn watering can cause:

  • Runny eyes and noses
  • Sore throat
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Allergic reactions

Swallowing contaminated water can cause:

  • Severe diarrhea/vomiting and abdominal pain
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Kidney toxicity
  • Weakness, salivation, tingly fingers, numbness, dizziness, difficulties breathing, or death

If you think you have been exposed to an algal bloom, take the following precautions:

  • Remove people from the exposure and seek medical treatment if symptoms occur.
  • Thoroughly rinse off pets with clean, fresh water if they swam in an area with an algal bloom. If they lick their fur after leaving the water, they may ingest large amounts of the toxin.
  • Seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible if you think your pet might have been poisoned by toxic algae.