For Immediate Release, August 22, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – Elevated levels of toxins detected in a blue-green algae bloom in Missisquoi Bay led the Vermont Department of Health to issue a health advisory today warning boaters, swimmers and residents to take the following precautions:
- Avoid contact with algae contaminated water. Do not swim or bathe in the water. Remember that children are considered to be at higher risk because they are more likely to drink the water.
- Monitor water intakes for private residences. If you see algae present near the intake, switch to an alternate safe source of water. Do not use algae contaminated water to prepare meals or brush teeth. Boiling water will not remove toxins.
- Do not allow pets in algae contaminated water.
Public water suppliers in the area are monitoring water supplies closely.
Skin contact with algae contaminated water can cause irritation or rashes. If people or pets come into contact with water, quickly shower or rinse off in uncontaminated water. Swallowing algae contaminated water can result in diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea. Seek medical attention if you have been exposed to blue green algae and are having skin irritation or are feeling sick.
The Health Department has notified town officials in North Hero, St. Albans and Swanton about the elevated toxin levels in Missisquoi Bay, and advised those areas to closely monitor for blooms and close public beaches if algae is visible.
The Health Department laboratory can test for blue green algae toxins. Call 1-800-660-9997 to order a kit (Kit BGA-2A private Drinking Water Supplies or BGA-3 for Private Swimming Waters).
For photos of the blooms, information, and an updated blue green algae status map for Lake Champlain, visit the Vermont Department of Health’s website at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/bg_algae/bgalgae.aspx