Clark County, Washington – Health Officials are closing Vancouver Lake to swimmers for the second time this month. Recent tests show an elevated level of bacteria which can cause breathing problems, rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea. The lake was briefly closed last week because of elevated levels of E-coli.
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Results from water samples taken from Vancouver Lake on Monday revealed cyanotoxins above the threshold levels recommended by the Washington Department of Health. Closure signs are being posted at the swim beach and other public access points to the lake. Public Health is advising against all recreating in the lake, including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and water skiing.
Blooms of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are currently present at the Vancouver Lake swim beach, Burnt Bridge Creek inlet and flushing channel near the swim beach.
Blue-green algae can pose a significant health risk if the 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. Skin contact can lead to rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation.
If water with cyanotoxins is accidentally swallowed, symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness. The toxins can be fatal to pets that drink the water.
Public Health has been monitoring cyanobacteria blooms at Vancouver Lake since June 12 and will continue to monitor the lake throughout the summer. As long as blooms are present, Public Health will take weekly water samples to test toxin levels. Signs will be updated as conditions change.
Vancouver Lake Regional Park remains open. Water in park restrooms and shelters is not affected by lake water and remains safe to drink.
Additional information about blue-green algae and current advisories are posted on the Public Health public beach website. To report algae blooms in other bodies of water, visit the Public Health website.