Toxic blue-green algae detected in waters at McNary National Wildlife Refuge


BURBANK, Wash. — Health leaders out of Walla Walla County confirmed that the presence of cyanobacteria, otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae, was detected in parts of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge east of the Tri-Cities.McNary

The announcement was made by the Walla Walla Department of Community Health (DCH) on August 12, 2022. This algae bloom is considered harmful for adults and can have fatal consequences for dogs or young children when consumed or exposed for an extended period.

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife leaders have made the decision to close the lake where this bloom was detected in order to protect public safety and preserve the wildlife that lives in this area. Pets or humans can be exposed to the damaging effects of the cyanobacteria by contact with skin or water contaminated by the toxins.

This means that drinking, swimming in, eating exposed shellfish, or accidentally breathing in droplets of contaminated water can have damaging effects. Symptoms of exposure include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, live pain, and neurological symptoms like dizziness or muscle weakness.

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Therefore, anyone who visits the McNary Wildlife Refuge is advised not to swim, fish, boat or drink water from the area until further testing and prevention efforts ensure that toxins are reduced from the water. DCH officials say that the toxins generally remain in the water for a week after the cyanobacteria bloom is removed or disappears.

Do you want more information on the topic? Click here to visit the Washington State Toxic Algae resource.


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