The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is advising residents on the northern end of Bass Lake in Muskoka Lakes to avoid using lake water following the confirmation of blue-green algae bloom.
The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) advised SMDHU that laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the algae. The health unit is warning residents in the area to avoid using lake water for drinking or food preparation, including use in infant formula. Exposure to blue-green algae, whether for drinking, swimming, cooking or through eating fish caught from the northern end of Bass Lake, could cause illness. Boiling the water will not destroy the toxins, and home treatment systems should not be relied on, according to the health unit.
Negative health effects are primarily caused by drinking water contaminated by blue-green algae toxins, causing symptoms such as headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can be more serious if the water is swallowed in large quantities.
Wind and water currents can move algae blooms around the lake. The blooms may make the water bluish-green or it can make the water look like green pea soup or turquoise paint. Swimming and other water activities should be avoided in the area where a blue-green algae bloom is visible.
To learn more or find updates, visit the health unit’s website, or call Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.