KDHE issues public health advisory for Melvern Lake due to blue-green algae – Osage County Online | Osage County News

KDHE issues public health advisory for Melvern Lake due to blue-green algae

First lake in state under advisory in 2023

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have issued a public heath advisory for Melvern Lake due to blue-green algae, the first lake in the state under advisory during this year’s water recreation season.

The Melvern Lake health advisory will be lifted in consultation with the lake manager when the bloom has dissipated.

Kansans should remain vigilant while engaging in recreational activities taking place in or on the water, such as swimming, boating, and fishing.

A harmful algal bloom may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms can develop rapidly; if the water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. These toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and skin contact. Symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure (such as direct contact, ingestion, inhalation) but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If people or pets come into contact with algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water. Suspected HAB-related health incidents, whether human or animal, regardless of season, should be reported at kdhe.ks.gov/1163.

Melvern Lake, in Osage County, is under a warning or hazard status, indicating a harmful algal bloom is present, and extreme conditions exist.

A warning status indicates conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the waterbody should be avoided. When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • Inhalation of spray or aerosols may be harmful.
  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock. Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

The water recreation season in Kansas officially runs from April 1 to Oct. 31, along with the state’s harmful algae blooms response program’s active operations.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, see kdhe.ks.gov/HAB.

Information thanks to Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

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