Ahead of another warm and sunny (for the most part) weekend in the Pacific Northwest region, the Oregon Health Authority has published an advisory against recreational use of the Willow Creek Reservoir, located just south of the town of Heppner, Oregon.
In their advisory, OHA says that current levels of blooming bacteria is extremely toxic and could be deadly.
“Oregon Health Authority issued a recreational use health advisory today for Willow Creek Reservoir due to the presence of a cyanobacteria bloom and cyanotoxins above recreational guideline values for human exposure,” reads the advisory. “The lake is in Morrow County.”
The advisory states that toxins cannot be absorbed through the skin but warns that some with sensitive skin may get a bad rash.
“Drinking water directly from areas of the lake affected by a bloom is especially dangerous,” writes the OHA. “Toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters. Contact campground management or the local health department with questions about water available at nearby campgrounds or day-use areas.”
Health officials also warn that pets and children are at higher risk of injury or harm due to the bacteria, and those catching fish near blooms should ensure that all internal organs, along with any fat and skin, are removed prior to cooking.
“Exposure to cyanotoxins can be serious and result in a range of symptoms, from those similar to food poisoning such as stomach cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, to more serious symptoms like numbness, tingling, dizziness, and shortness of breath that may require medical attention.”
For health information or to report an illness, contact Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0482.