From LaBelle, Florida for Hendry and Glades County and the Lake Okeechobee region. Don Browne, editor.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Health Caution Statement - Caloosahatchee River
Caution For Swimming, Fish Eating - Caloosahatchee River
The Hendry and Glades County, Florida Health Departments are recommending caution of exposure for humans, pets, or livestock to the waters of the Caloosahatchee River for the next few weeks.
A toxin produced by Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) has shown up in preliminary tests which can cause harm to fish, animals and humans when swallowed. This blue-green algae is also known to reduce the oxygen levels in the water as the algae bacterium decomposes resulting in fish kills.
At this time, the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments have not received any information that the toxins in the Caloosahatchee River have reached harmful levels. However, the Health Departments are recommending that people in the communities avoid eating fish from the river if dead fish are floating on the surface, in addition to avoiding ingestion (swallowing) the river water.
The World Health Organization reports that humans can be affected with a range of symptoms including skin irritation, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain, blisters of the mouth and liver damage.
Swimmers in waters containing the cyanobacterial toxins may suffer allergic reactions such as asthma, eye irritation, rashes, and blisters around the mouth and nose. The toxins can also affect the kidneys.
There are two toll free hotlines available for people to report fish kills or illness associated with blue-green algae:
Fish Kill Hotline (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) 800-636-0511