Toxic blue-green algae have been found in several Nebraska lakes

LINCOLN, Nebraska – Five lakes in Nebraska are on high alert for harmful algae.

Big Indian Lake in Gage County, Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County, Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County, and Kirkman’s Cove Lake in Richardson County are affected, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Many of the lakes were previously on blue-green algal alert.

Throughout the months of May through September, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services collects weekly samples from 54 lakes. This is the final week for sample collection.

Microcystin levels recorded at the impacted lakes exceeded 8 parts per billion, which is sufficient to warrant a health notice. Microcystin is a toxin produced by certain blue-green algae strains.

According to the CDC, exposure to blue-green algae can cause various health problems.

When there is a public health notice, warning signs are displayed and swimming beaches are shut down.

Still permitted are boating and fishing, although the public should avoid contact with the water. Additionally, it is advised to avoid eating the water and allowing pets to swim in the lake.

Still permitted is the use of public lake areas for camping and other outdoor activities.

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