Blue-green algae toxins found in Lake Weir

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Posted May 17, 2021 |

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County issued a health alert on Monday, after finding toxins related to blue-green algae near a popular beach spot on the north shore of Lake Weir, according to a DOH press release.

While the toxins turned up near Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill at 12431 SE 135th Ave., blue-green algae blooms are common in summer and fall and can occur in any freshwater area, according to the DOH release.

The blooms can change water color to blue, green, brown, orange, or red. The blooms can form rapidly and sometimes form a foamy surface scum with an unpleasant odor. The blooms can cause fish kills.

Don’t swallow, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski, or boat in waters where there are algae blooms. Algae blooms can cause ear, eye, and skin reactions and hay fever and flu-like symptoms like diarrhea. Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water. Keep pets and livestock away from algae bloom areas, the release states.

Don’t cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.

Fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms are safe to eat. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well. Do not eat shellfish from this location, according to the DOH.

For information on algae blooms, visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection webpage

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