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Toxic Algae Bloom Present in Spanaway Lake

September 10, 2009

For Immediate Release | TACOMA | September 10, 2009 | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is issuing a warning today, Thursday, September 10, 2009 that a toxic algae bloom in Spanaway Lake is currently producing a potent toxin. A toxic algae bloom is easily identified by an unusual color or appearance to the water. Usually a bloom makes the lake surface green, giving the appearance of pea soup or green paint, but sometimes the bloom is a different color, such as brown or red. The algae are the small dots in the water. Wind and weather conditions can greatly change the amount and location of algae in the lake. To help you make decisions about recreational use of the lake, the health department recommends you follow these precautions:

?Keep children and pets away from areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
?Do not swim, wade, or waterski in the lake
?Do not boat or fish in areas that have a heavy concentration of algae

Swallowing lake water containing algae or prolonged skin contact with the algae may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea. If you know or believe someone may have swallowed water containing large amounts of algae, it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention.

The risk to pets is much greater than the risk to people, both due to the smaller body sizes of pets and to a pet being more likely to drink water containing a heavy concentration of algae. If a pet does ingest a large amount of algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures, it should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. For further information, please call Lindsay Tuttle at (253) 798-3530.

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