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Toxic algae found in Illinois River near Marseilles

Chillicothe Times-Bulletin - 7/4/2018

Illinois officials have confirmed toxic algae found in the Illinois River near Marseilles above the health advisory limit.

The algal toxin microcystin can be produced by blue-green algae and cause sickness and other adverse health effects in people and animals, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Water sampled near Marseilles contained the toxin at 4.75 parts per billion, which is just about the advisory limit of 4.

"Sampling was also done at Illinois American Water-Peoria, the only public water supply using the Illinois River as a water source, which showed toxins are below the detection limit in finished water samples," the department said in a news release.

Last week, an initial screening tested a sample near Hennepin, and the Illinois EPA's lab found the microcystin level in the sample at 182 parts per billion.

Illinois EPA will test more samples this week to determine if conditions have improved.

The very young, elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. Symptoms of exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing or wheezing.

The Department of Public Health advises that people who plan to use the river or nearby lakes and streams should avoid contact with water that:

· looks like spilled, green or blue-green paint

· has surface scums, mats or films

· is discolored or has green-colored streaks

· has greenish globs suspended in the water below the surface.

Anyone who comes in contact with water suspected of having a bloom of blue-green algae should rinse off with clean, fresh water as soon as possible. Do not let pets drink from water with any of the above characteristics.

If you are concerned you have symptoms that are a result of exposure to algal toxins, contact your health care provider or call the Illinois Poison Center at (800) 222-1222.

If your pet experiences symptoms that may be a result of exposure, contact your veterinarian.


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