Blue algae alert issued for a creek near Whitey’s Fish Camp

Health officials warn of a risk of blue-green algae in Swimming Pen Creek near Whitey’s Fish Camp in Clay County.

Toxins were discovered in a water sample taken on June 9. The Clay County Florida Department of Health on Tuesday advised people to take precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use a personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothes with soap and water if you come into contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters with algal blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different water source in case of algae blooms.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated with algae blooms. Boiling water will not remove toxins.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algal blooms.

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria common in Florida’s freshwater environments. Sunny days, warm water, still water, and pollution runoff from land contribute to flowering.

Blue-green algae blooms can be toxic to wildlife, people who drink the water or breathe the air nearby. Exposure can lead to allergic reactions such as skin rashes, eye irritations and respiratory symptoms.

A similar warning was issued last month for Doctor’s Lake and nearby Mill Cove.

The Florida Department of Health offers this advice if you see an algae bloom:

  • To report a bloom to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, call the toll-free hotline at (855) 305-3903 or report online.
  • To report fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 1-800-636-0511.
  • Report symptoms of exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center. Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a poison specialist right away.
  • Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has become ill after consuming or coming into contact with water contaminated with blue-green algae.
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