BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – The Vermont Department of Health declared an alert for the northeasternmost arm of Lake Champlain after blue-green algae was found in the water.

Mississquoi Bay has experienced blue-green algae blooms on the Quebec side of the bay this summer, and the blooms recently extended across the border to the Vermont side.

“People should avoid swimming in areas where there is visible green or blue-green scum collected on the surface of the water,” said state toxicologist Bill Bress. “They also should not drink or shower with water that is piped directly from the bay to their home or camp, if a green or blue-green scum is present.”

Toxin levels in a water bodies tend to be higher near the shoreline and at the surface of the water where animal and human contact is most likely.

Common purification methods such as boiling, ultraviolet light and chlorination will not destroy the toxins formed in the blooms.

Drinking blue green algae can result in symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Children should especially be kept from entering scummy water since they are more likely to ingest the water than adults.

Dogs are at risk if they eat the algae or drink the water in an area where a toxic algae bloom is taking place. They may also ingest the algae by licking their fur after they have been in water that is thick with algae.

Generally, lots of wind, cooler weather, rainfall, and cloudy days will lead to the collapse of an algae bloom.

The algae alert system was developed by the University of Vermont in conjunction with the Health Department.

AP-ES-07-29-04 1842EDT

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