Health department issues warning for west Orange County lake

The Florida Department of Health is urging people to avoid a west Orange County lake because of blue green algae.

DOH-Orange Environmental Health staff posted signs around Lake Olivia near Gotha warning people to stay out of the water because of the presence of Microcystin Toxin.

The toxin was first detected in surface water samples taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Blue green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) can grow in many of Florida’s waterbodies. Large concentration, called blooms can change the water color to blue, green, brown, orange or red. Blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall. Blue green algae can grow rapidly and sometimes form a foamy surface scum and an unpleasant odor. Because algae blooms can remove oxygen from the water, fish kills can occur.

The health department says people should avoid all contact with the water.

Don’t swallow, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there are algae blooms. Algae blooms can cause ear, eye and skin reactions and hay fever and flu-like symptoms like diarrhea. Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae, discolored or smelly water.

The Health Alert will remain in place until further notice.

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