UPDATE (JULY 17) --
The Oregon Health Authority lifted the advisory in the Deschutes River Arm and Crooked River Arm of Lake Billy Chinook.
The advisory continues in the Metolius River Arm.
OHA says people should continue to be cautious when using the lake, particularly with pets because toxins are still well above the very low exposure levels established for dogs.
Original story below.
MADRAS, Ore. – Oregon health officials issued a health advisory for parts of Lake Billy Chinook, a popular destination in Jefferson County.
Officials found toxic blue-green algae in several parts of the lake. The toxins can be harmful to humans and animals.
The Oregon Health Authority issued the advisory in the following parts of the lake:
- The Metolius River Arm from Perry South Campground to the northern tip of Chinook Island.
- The Deschutes River Arm in and around Cove Palisades State Park, the day use areas and boat docks.
- The Crooked River Arm in and around the Jefferson County day use area past Cove Palisades Resort and Marina to the confluence of the Deschutes River Arm.
Lake Billy Chinook is located about 12 miles west of Madras.
U.S. Forest Service staff found visible scum near the Perry South Campground, prompting the advisory.
Health officials stress that people and animals should avoid swallowing water while swimming or even inhaling drops of water during water activities such as water skiing and power boating in areas of the lake where the advisory is in effect.
Toxins cannot be removed from water by boiling it or filtering it, officials said. Anyone who eats fish from the water where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking.
Symptoms of those exposed to the harmful toxins include numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems. People can also experience skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting.
Anyone showing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure, health officials say, because of their size and level of activity.
OHA keeps a list of all health advisories on its website.