Dangerous Algae Bloom Spreads in Utah

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The blue-green algal bloom that has elevated levels of toxic cyanobacteria in northern Utah has spread to Weber County as of September 11, 2017.  

First spotted toward the end of June 2017, the harmful algal bloom has continued to spread. According to Deseret News, the bloom has infected five bodies of water in Utah: a Weber County pond, Mantua Reservoir in Box Elder County, Warner Lake near Vernal, Blackridge Reservoir in Herriman, and Utah Lake. The algal bloom is said to be caused by hot temperatures, calm weather, and an overabundance of phosphorus and nitrogen, resulting from “urban runoff and agricultural activities”, in the water.  

While it may appear harmless, citizens have been warned to avoid contact with the algae because the toxins anatoxin and microcystin cause harmful effects on the body. According to Fox News, some of the symptoms caused by coming into contact with the cyanobacteria in the algae are headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and a possible allergic reaction from skin contact. Deseret News adds that exposure to the toxins can cause damage to the liver and nerves, and in some cases, death. Not only is the algae dangerous to humans, but it can also severely hurt animals. If one has been in contact with the cyanobacteria, call the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222. Veterinarians should be called if one’s pet has been exposed to the toxins as well.  

Far from disappearing, the algae bloom is spreading and it is predicated to continue doing so. 

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