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By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Algae bloom reported on Salmon Lake, may be toxic

 

October 8, 2020

Emily McGuirt, Clearwater Resource Council

Photos taken by Clearwater Resource Council on Thursday, Oct. 1 after one of their members reported suspicious algae south of Salmon Lake State Park.

SALMON LAKE – Thursday afternoon, Oct. 1 Clearwater Resource Council collected samples of a possible blue-green algae south of Salmon Lake State Park after getting a report of the bloom. The Flathead Lake Biological Station confirmed Monday morning that it is Anabaena. This genera may produce different toxins including anatoxin and microcystin that can make people very sick and be deadly to animals.

Anatoxin is a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system. Signs can appear within 15 -20 minutes after ingestion. Signs include numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, stumbling, seizures, paralysis, disorientation, headaches, inactivity, elevated heart rate, dizziness and respiratory failure.

Emily McGuirt, Clearwater Resource Council

Photos taken by Clearwater Resource Council on Thursday, Oct. 1 after one of their members reported suspicious algae south of Salmon Lake State Park.

Microcystin is a hepatotoxin, affecting the liver, causing serious acute symptoms and also slower chronic symptoms. Symptoms can occur hours or days after being exposed to the cyanotoxin. Signs include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, jaundice, dark or reduced urine, diarrhea, vomiting, liver damage, and hemorrhages.

According to the Department of Public Health and Human Services, if a harmful algae bloom is a suspected, do not allow pets or livestock drink the water or people or animals to swim in it. If symptoms appear, seek medical attention immediately and report the incident on HAB.MT.gov.

CRC advises that people and their pets stay out of the water until the algae bloom is fully dissipated. It is unknown how long that will be. Toxins may also exist in the water for several days without a visible bloom.

CRC Executive Director Caryn Miske said it is unclear what caused the bloom. It could be linked to pollution or warming waters.

 

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