Blue-Green Algae Breaks Out

The Wyoming Department of Health has notified the Forest Service of a potential harmful cyanobacterial bloom, also known as blue-green algae, is on Shoshone Lake on the west side of the Wind River Mountains, about 30 miles northwest of Pinedale. According to Steve Schacht, Shoshone National Forest District Ranger, further samples were collected at the lake on Friday, and results should be back later next week. Cyanobacteria can produce toxins and other irritants that can cause health effects such as rashes, fatigue, disorientation and gastrointestinal illnesses. In extreme cases, says Jackson Hole Radio Veterinary Correspondent Dr. Stephanie Ninnemann, toxins may lead to pet, livestock or wildlife death.

Ninnemann said, “Cyanobacteria intoxication are most commonly associated with the ingestion of water where there is excessive of bacteria that produce neurotoxins or hepatotoxins – so that’s to say they effect the nervous system or they effect the liver very heavily. We commonly see this after water with the cyanobacteria is ingested, and it’s rapidly broken down in that G-I track; and so those toxins are absorbed into the body relatively quickly.”

Dr. Ninnemann warns that death can occur as quickly as within 30 minutes of ingestion of a toxin. Wyoming Game and Fish officials advise anglers and other recreationists to avoid contact with the water in areas where scum is visible. Furthermore, they say if people, pets or livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible and contact a doctor or veterinarian.



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