Utah Poison Control fielding dozens of calls from people exposed to algal bloom in Utah Lake

UTAH LAKE – Dozens of calls are pouring into the Utah Poison Control Center. People claim they’ve been exposed to an algal bloom in Utah Lake.

These days there isn’t a whole lot of traffic on Utah Lake.  The Department of Environmental Quality says an algal bloom spotted in Provo Bay back in June has since spread to a majority of the lake.

“The levels are such that we`ve issued a warning for the lake,” said Ralph Clegg, Executive Director for the Utah County Health Department.

Each week, they test the water to make sure cyanobacteria levels don’t get too high to where they’ll have to close the lake, so for now they’re issuing a warning.

“People should stay out of the water,” said Clegg.

Clegg warns people to keep themselves and pets out of the water.  He says ingesting the water can put you at risk, even if you’re doing activities on the surface of the water.

“If they get enough of an exposure then they can get sick.  Sickness usually includes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, those types of things.”

Clegg says toxins can be deadly.  They can cause liver and neurological damage. Dozens of people who have been exposed to the algal bloom are calling the Utah Poison Control Center.

“This year, we`ve received 76 calls to date that`s for this algal bloom this year,” said Sherrie Pace with the Utah Poison Control Center.

Pace says 28% of the people who have called in are experiencing adverse effects.

“We just recommend that people give us a call because we can help triage the situation.  We can provide first aid information.”

If you’re concerned about possible exposure to cyanobacteria, call the Utah Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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