Bulletin Staff Report
The Bulletin

A June health advisory regarding harmful bacteria on a portion of Lake Billy Chinook has been expanded to include the entire lake.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Healthy Authority updated its June 22 advisory about the presence of cyanobacteria, the organisms that cause blue-green algae clouds in bodies of water. The initial advisory only extended from the cove at Perry South Campground to the southern tip of Chinook Island, but subsequent water monitoring revealed cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce in each of the three arms of the Jefferson County lake, according to the state agency.

The advisory asks visitors to avoid swimming, water-skiing and engaging in other high-speed aquatic activities in the areas of the lake where the toxins have been identified. Visitors should avoid drinking the water, and the toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters. People looking to eat fish where the algae clouds are present should remove fat, skin and organs before cooking, according to the health authority.

The toxins can cause numbness, tingling or dizziness that can lead to heart problems or difficulty breathing. Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure, according to the agency.

The bacteria have been a relatively common occurrence at Lake Billy Chinook in recent years, as advisories have been issued during each of the last three summers.

For more information, visit www.healthoregon.org/hab.

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