EUGENE, Ore. -- A health advisory was issued Friday for people using the Fern Ridge Lake after the Oregon Health Authority confirmed high levels of blue-green algae in the water.
A water monitoring system detected the blue-green algae's presence, which is known to produce a dangerous toxin called cyanotoxin.
Those toxins are poisonous if they come in contact with skin, as well as if they are swallowed or inhaled. For that reason they pose a direct threat to humans and animals using the Fern Ridge Reservoir.
Drinking water directly from the reservoir is especially dangerous because the toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water without special devices. OHA advised residents using the lake as their drinking water source because private water treatments don't always adequately remove the toxins.
Exposure to cyanotoxin can cause people to experience symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness. People experiencing prolonged skin irritation, weakness, nausea, cramps, diarrhea and fainting after exposure to the toxin should seek medical attention.
OHA officials said that it is safe to fish in the reservoir, but they ask that people be safe about preparing their catch for consumption. OHA said that people fishing in the reservoir should remove all of the fat, skin and organs to avoid eating toxins off of a fish.
The Health Authority said that they will publish another release after the algae blooms go away. For more information on the blue-green algae health advisory call the Lane County Parks Department at 541-682-2000.