Blue-green algal bloom reported in Garden River lake

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Algoma Public Health said Wednesday that a possible blue-green algal bloom has been spotted in Echo Lake in Garden River.

"Blue-green algae blooms have been confirmed in this lake in the past," the health unit said in a news release.

Blue-green algae are naturally found in freshwater lakes, the release said, and are often present in low numbers. But when conditions are right, they can increase in numbers to form a scum called a bloom.

“Not all blooms are harmful but some types of blue-green algae produce toxins that can make humans and animals sick when (inhaled), swallowed or touched,” says Shaw, a public health inspector with Algoma Public Health, said in the release.

“Symptoms may include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps or skin, eyes, nose and throat irritation.”

As a precautionary measure, when a bloom is visible, Algoma Public Health recommends residents not use the water for recreational activities such as swimming or water skiing.

It also shouldn't be used for drinking or bathing for humans or animals. Boiling or adding bleach to the water increases the amount of toxins and does not make it safe to use.

For more information on algal blooms from the health unit, click here.