Vancouver Lake remains closed to swimming due to cyanotoxins, and new testing also revealed elevated levels of E. coli bacteria, according to Clark County Public Health.
The swim beach at Vancouver Lake will remain closed until testing shows that cyanotoxin and E. coli levels don’t exceed toxic thresholds, according to a news release Tuesday.
Clark County Public Health advises that no one should recreate in the lake, which includes swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, and water skiing.
Vancouver Lake water may contain bacteria found in animal or human feces. Some of these bacteria are capable of causing severe gastrointestinal illness.
Depending on the cause, people with gastrointestinal infections may experience fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea beginning several hours to several days or longer after exposure. Some infections may cause bloody diarrhea.
Blue-green algae can cause serious health problems if cyanobacteria or toxins are ingested, inhaled or come into contact with skin. Inhaled bacteria or toxins can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, according to Public Health. Skin contact can lead to rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation.
If water with cyanotoxins is swallowed, symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness. The toxins can kill pets if they ingest the water.
Public Health has monitored cyanobacteria blooms at Vancouver Lake since June 12. The swim beach was closed earlier this month for elevated E. coli levels, and on July 24 the lake was closed after testing discovered elevated cyanotoxins above threshold levels. Earlier this month, Clark County Public Health Officer Dr.
Alan Melnick told The Columbian he’s relying on people to avoid contact with the lake when it’s closed.
“We can’t be there all the time to police this,” he said.
Public Health will continue to monitor Vancouver Lake and update advisories when conditions change. Current advisories can be found at the public beaches website.