Harmful algal bloom found at Rough River, other Kentucky lakes

The Kentucky Division of Water and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have confirmed the presence of potentially harmful algal blooms (HABs), or cyanobacteria, at levels exceeding recommended safety thresholds at several lakes in Kentucky…

These lakes include Rough River Lake, Nolin Reservoir, Barren River Lake, Green River Lake and Taylorsville Lake.

Cell counts at one site at Taylorsville Lake exceeded 1,000,000 cells per milliliter (mL), while counts at the other lakes exceeded 100,000 cells/mL. The World Health Organization has determined that “moderate probability of experiencing adverse health effects” exists when cyanobacteria cell counts exceed 100,000 cells/mL.

The state Department of Public Health, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Parks and other stakeholders have been informed of these conditions.

These lakes remain open to the public, but visitors should be aware of the potential health issues and take precautions.

The following guidelines are recommended to avoid exposure to HABs:

Direct contact with affected water, including swimming, wading, fishing, paddling, diving and water skiing may result in symptoms. It is advisable to avoid contact with water that has unusual color or where blue-green bacteria have been identified, even if the water appears to be clear.

People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma should avoid areas with harmful algal blooms. Children may be particularly sensitive.

If contact has been made with water containing blue-green algae, wash off with fresh water. In some cases, skin irritation will appear after prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your local health care provider.

Fish fillets (not organs) may be consumed after the fillets have been rinsed in clean, non-lake water. It is advisable to wash any parts of your body that have come into contact with the fish.

Prevent pets and livestock from coming into contact with HAB-infested waters.

Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that may be hazardous to animals and humans. Symptoms of exposure to harmful algae may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; skin and eye irritation; and/or throat irritation or breathing difficulties.

If you are concerned that you have symptoms that are a result of exposure to HABs, see your doctor and call your local health department.

For information on harmful algal blooms and updates on the levels at USACE lakes, visit: tinyurl.com/HG-algal.

Courier Press

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