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Blue-green algae bloom confirmed for the first time in Lake St. George

The health unit advises residents around the south end of Lake St. George, Township of Severn, to avoid using the lake water for drinking or food preparation
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NEWS RELEASE
SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
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TOWNSHIP OF SEVERN — The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has been advised by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) that laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of a blue-green algae bloom in the south-end of Lake St. George. This is the first confirmed blue-green algae bloom for Lake St. George.

Wind and water currents can change the location of algae blooms. Swimming and other water sport activities should be avoided in areas where a blue-green algae bloom is visible. A bloom may appear bluish-green, or like green pea soup or turquoise paint.

The health unit is advising residents around the south end of Lake St. George, Township of Severn, to avoid using the lake water for drinking or food preparation, including breastmilk substitute (infant formula). Boiling the water will not destroy the toxins, and home treatment systems should not be relied on.

Exposure to blue-green algae, whether for drinking, swimming, cooking or through eating fish caught from the south-end of Lake St. George may result in illness.

Adverse health effects are mainly caused by drinking water that is contaminated with blue-green algae toxins. Symptoms from consuming toxins can include headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and can be more serious if water is swallowed in large quantities.

The health unit and the MECP will continue to monitor the lake and updates will be posted on the health unit’s website at www.smdhu.org/algae.

To learn more about blue-green algae visit the health unit website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, or call Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

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