Toxic algae spotted near Tahoe in Indian Creek Reservoir

Harmful algal blooms have been detected in south of Lake Tahoe at Indian Creek Reservoir.

Scott Sonner/AP

Recent tests have found that the Indian Creek Reservoir in the South Lake Tahoe area is infested with harmful algal blooms, or HABs, government sites confirmed. According to the advisory, humans and pets should stay out of the water and avoid eating shellfish from the reservoir. Owners should also ensure that their pets do not drink water or eat scum on the shore.

Although they are particularly harmful to children, when humans ingest or come in contact with cyanobacteria or cyanotoxins, they can cause distinct flu-like symptoms within 48 hours of exposure. Government resources also say they can cause skin irritation, abnormal breathing and gastrointestinal symptoms within just minutes to days. In animals, they can cause seizures and death.

Even if visitors don’t swim in water infested with a dangerous algae bloom, it’s still possible to get sick by inhaling mist or spray. Anyone who shows symptoms after coming in direct contact with water, scum or algae mats is advised to immediately seek medical attention.

According to the state of California’s algal bloom resources page, visitors can protect themselves by:

-Checking if a body of water has a reported bloom on the HAB Reports Map, contacting the water manager for that area and looking for posted advisory signs.
-Checking to see if the water has scum, algal mats or discoloration.
– Practicing “Healthy Water Habits” such as heeding all advisories and washing after coming into contact with a body of water.

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