Blue-green algae confirmed in south end of Lake St. George in Severn: health unit

Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in the south end of Lake St. George in Severn, Ont., according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

This is the first confirmed blue-green algae bloom for Lake St. George, the health unit says.

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Swimming and other water sports should be avoided in areas where the blue-green algae bloom is visible, the health unit warns.

The blue-green algae, which can change location through wind and water currents, may make the water look blue-green, like green pea soup or turquoise paint.

The health unit is advising residents around the south end of Lake St. George to avoid using the lake water for drinking or food preparation.

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According to the health unit, boiling water will not destroy the toxins. Home treatment systems shouldn’t be relied on, the health unit adds.

Exposure to blue-green algae through drinking, swimming or cooking may result in illness. Adverse health effects are mainly caused by drinking water that is contaminated with blue-green algae toxins.

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Symptoms from consuming toxins can include headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

According to the health unit, symptoms can be more serious if the water is swallowed in large quantities.

The health unit and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks are monitoring the situation.

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