Health advisory issued after harmful algae found in Fernan Lake

Health advisory issued after harmful algae found in Fernan Lake
Pandhandle Health District
Photo courtesy of Pandhandle Health District

The Panhandle Health District and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality have issued a health advisory for Fernan Lake after harmful algae was found in the water.

The public is urged to use caution when recreating in or near the water after water monitoring confirmed the lake had cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae could produce dangerous toxins in the lake. Pets, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are most at-risk of harmful exposure.

Blue-green algae are naturally occurring bacteria, that can cause thick green mats along lake shorelines, and discolored water.

Property owners who use the lake as a drinking water source should be aware that the toxins from the algae cannot be removed by boiling or filtering the water.

If you come in contact with the algae, you should wash off with fresh water.

If you choose to eat fish from the lake, it is recommended that you remove all the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.

Symptoms include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingestion of water. If symptoms persist, consult with your health care provider.

The Panhandle Health District will advise the public when the concern no longer exists. Updated information can be found here.