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More lakes show signs of blooming toxic algae

Blue-green algae that produces toxins is blooming up in more reservoirs across the region, water quality officials report.

On Monday, authorities warned about algae in Jackson County's Fish Lake and in Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs on the Klamath River in Northern California.

Water monitoring at Fish Lake, 30 miles east of Medford and just west of Lake of the Woods off Highway 140, confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals, according to state and county health officials.

A coalition of state, federal and tribal officials in California warned about blooms seen in the reservoirs on the Klamath River.

Authorities in California and Oregon said it may be dangerous to eat fish from, drink or swim in the water. They warned that people and animals shouldn't swallow, inhale or touch the water.

Drinking the contaminated water is especially dangerous. Toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters, health officials say.

They recommend that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues.

Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting also should receive medical attention if they persist or worsen.

Monday's warnings are the latest in a string that started in April in Southern Oregon. Health officials last week lifted advisories at Diamond Lake and nearby Lemolo Lake. An advisory earlier this summer at Lost Creek Lake also has been lifted, although an algae advisory issued in April for Willow Lake near Butte Falls continues.

Oregon's current health advisories can be seen at www.mailtribune.com/algae.