CYANOBACTERIA ADVISORY LIFTED FOR COTTONWOOD PARK AND CAMPGROUND AT C.J. STRIKE RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health (SWDH), in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has lifted the Health Advisory for Cottonwood Park and Campground at C.J. Strike Reservoir. DEQ officials monitored cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, and associated toxins where harmful algal blooms (HABs) were present and have confirmed that blue-green algae levels in the reservoir have returned to normal and toxin levels are below the safety threshold.

Other blooms may exist on this waterbody that have not been reported to DEQ or the health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/blue-green-algae/.

# # #

Chase Cusack, DEQ                         208.373.0490              Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams, SWDH           208.455.5317               Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Read More

CYANOBACTERIA ADVISORY LIFTED FOR LAKE LOWELL

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        

CYANOBACTERIA ADVISORY LIFTED FOR LAKE LOWELL

Southwest District Health (SWDH), in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has lifted the Health Advisory for Lake Lowell. DEQ officials monitored cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, and associated toxins where harmful algal blooms (HABs) were present and have confirmed that blue-green algae levels in Lake Lowell have returned to normal and toxin levels are below the safety threshold.

Other blooms may exist on this waterbody that have not been reported to DEQ or the health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/blue-green-algae/.

# # #

Chase Cusack, DEQ                         208.373.0490              Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams, SWDH                  208.455.5317               Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Read More

E. COLI HEALTH ADVISORY LIFTED FOR LAKE LOWELL; CYANOBACTERIA ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF LAKE LOWELL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Southwest District Health has lifted the E. coli Health Advisory for the Lake Lowell Lower Dam Recreation Area that was issued August 8, 2018. DEQ officials collected samples over a 30-day period and have confirmed that E. coli levels are below the safety threshold as described in Idaho’s water quality standards.

Please note that the health advisory for high concentrations of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, remains in effect for all of Lake Lowell. Samples continue to indicate that toxin-producing cyanobacteria are present and may cause illness to humans and animals.

Other blooms may exist on this waterbody that have not been reported to DEQ or the health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing blue-green algae may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/blue-green-algae/.

 

# # #

Chase Cusack, DEQ                         208.373.0490              Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams, SWDH               208.455.5317              Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Read More

HEALTH ADVISORY ISSUED FOR COTTONWOOD PARK AND CAMPGROUND AT C.J. STRIKE RESERVOIR

Public Health Advisory

Elevated levels of cyanobacteria could be harmful to people, pets and livestock

Owyhee Co., ID — In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for the Cottonwood Park and Campground at C.J. Strike Reservoir related to elevated levels of cyanobacteria that could be harmful to people, pets and livestock.

High counts of cyanobacteria can create a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), which can release harmful toxins. Given the high counts of cyanobacteria at the Cottonwood Park and Campground, conditions are right for a HAB to occur. People and their pets are advised to stay out of the water in this part of the reservoir, located at the Bruneau delta on the south side of the reservoir.

Cyanobacteria occur naturally and blooms occur in waters with high levels of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. “Whenever you are recreating in any kind of surface water, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, whether or not there is an advisory in place,” said Chase Cusack, a Watershed Coordinator with Idaho’s DEQ Boise regional office. “While harmful algal blooms aren’t always obvious to the eye, people can look for things like a green or blue-green layer on top of the water that might look like paint, or thick mats, especially along the shoreline. If you suspect a harmful algal bloom, you should report it to the DEQ.”

Areas with high levels of cyanobacteria may also be white or brown in color and look like surface scum, resembling pea soup, and can have an unpleasant odor or stench.

SWDH and DEQ advise the following precautions where high counts of cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms are known to be present:

  • Humans and animals should stay out of the affected water. Swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact of pond water should be avoided.
  • Humans, pets, and livestock should not drink the affected water.
  • Fish should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed. All other parts should be discarded.
  • Pets and livestock are vulnerable to cyanobacteria and their toxins and should stay out of water where blooms are visible. Pets and livestock can be exposed to cyanobacteria and their toxins through drinking, swimming, or self-grooming by licking their wet coat or paws. A reaction will likely require immediate veterinary attention.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If affected water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
  • Areas of visible algae accumulation should be avoided.

Symptoms of Exposure

People who are exposed to water with high concentrations of cyanobacteria or cyanotoxins may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic responses, liver damage, or neurotoxic reactions such as tingling fingers and toes. Anyone with symptoms should seek medical attention. Boiling or filtering the water will not remove cyanotoxins.

More Information on Cyanobacteria and HABs

For more information about cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms, including a map of advisories currently in effect throughout Idaho, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/

Additional Resources
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) – Harmful Algal Blooms Webpage
Idaho Power – C.J. Strike Recreation Area

# # #

Contacts:
Katrina Williams, Media Contact
Southwest District Health

Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
desk (208) 455-5317 | cell (208) 899-1268

Chase Cusack, Watershed Coordinator
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ)
Boise Regional Office
desk (208) 373-0490   | chase.cusack@deq.idaho.gov

 

Read More

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE – LAKE LOWELL

Public Health Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Lake Lowell. Recent samples taken from the lake indicate that toxin-producing cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are present and may cause illness to humans and animals.

Cyanobacteria occur naturally, but high concentrations of blue-green algae can form a bloom under the right conditions, such as high levels of nutrients. Under certain conditions, some types of cyanobacteria can release toxins into the water that are harmful to people, pets, and livestock. The blooms are generally green, or blue-green, and may form thick mats along shorelines. These may look like a surface scum resembling pea soup and can have an unpleasant odor.

SWDH, DEQ and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advise the following precautions be taken at Lake Lowell while the bloom is known to be present:

  • Humans, pets, and livestock should not drink the reservoir water.
  • Humans and animals should stay out of the reservoir. Swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact of reservoir water should be avoided.
  • Fish should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed. All other parts should be discarded.
  • Pets and livestock should stay out of water where blooms are visible. Pets and livestock can be exposed through drinking, swimming, or self-grooming by licking their wet coat or paws. A reaction will likely require immediate veterinary attention.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If reservoir water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
  • Areas of visible algae accumulation should be avoided.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are exposed to water with high concentrations of cyanobacteria may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic responses, liver damage, or neurotoxic reactions such as tingling fingers and toes. Symptoms in humans are rare, but anyone with symptoms should seek medical attention. Boiling or filtering the water will not remove the toxins.

Lake Lowell is part of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/

###

Chase Cusack, DEQ
Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov
208.373-0490

Katrina Williams, SWDH
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
208.455.5317 (office)
208.899.1268 (cell)

Read More

CLOSURE RECOMMENDED FOR LAKE LOWELL LOWER DAM RECREATION AREA

Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has recommended closure of the Lake Lowell Lower Dam Recreation Area beach for all recreational water use due to elevated E. coli bacteria levels.

Please stay out of the water until further notice. Please keep pets out of the water. Signs will be posted at beaches to notify visitors about the closure.

Please refer to the map for current recreation water quality health advisories at: https://go.usa.gov/xRnSj

For more information on waterborne illnesses, refer to the following link:

https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/DiseasesConditions/WaterborneIllness/tabid/113/Default.aspx

  1. coli infection can, in some rare cases, be fatal. Symptoms include sudden, severe watery diarrhea that may change to bloody stools, abdominal cramping, gas, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fever.

DEQ will conduct additional monitoring to determine the extent of the E. coli contamination and to identify the source of the bacteria.

###

Chase Cusack, DEQ
Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov
208.373-0490

Katrina Williams, SWDH
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
208.455.5317 (office)
208.899.1268 (cell)

Read More

PERTUSSIS CASES CONTINUE TO RISE INTO THE START OF THE SCHOOL SEASON

Media Advisory

Southwest District Health has confirmed 122 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) within its six county region since the beginning of the year. This number is significantly higher than the previous year.  Anyone with a persistent cough is encouraged to visit a medical provider and request testing. Household members of patients who test positive for pertussis may also receive treatment to avoid developing the disease.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that can cause serious illness in infants, children, and adults. It begins with cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, a non-productive cough, and a low-grade fever, but symptoms can vary. Typically, after 1-2 weeks, the cough becomes more severe, especially at night, and cough medicines usually do not help the cough. On occasion a child may make a crowing sound (the whoop) when she or he draws a breath after severe coughing. Teens and adults usually have milder illness. If your baby is having trouble breathing take the baby to the emergency department or doctor right away.

 

Infected persons are contagious from the time cold symptoms begin to three weeks after cough starts. Infected persons are no longer contagious after they have completed a five-day treatment with an appropriate antibiotic.

“People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close proximity with others,” said Jami Delmore, Environmental Health Supervisor for Southwest District Health. “The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. Most fully-immunized children are at a lower risk for contracting pertussis. Infants under one year are not old enough to be fully-vaccinated against pertussis and are most likely to experience severe illness if they develop the disease,” she said.

Antibiotics can make the disease milder in those infected, if treated promptly, and will prevent further transmission of the illness to others. Individuals exposed to pertussis should also be given antibiotics to prevent the disease, even if they have been vaccinated.

Adults and adolescents are commonly the source of infection for younger children and infants.  Young infants should be kept away from people with cough illnesses. Likewise, people with cough illnesses should always stay away from young infants, since pertussis can cause more severe, even life-threatening, complications in infants.

Who Needs Pertussis Vaccines?

Pertussis vaccines (DTaP for infants/children and Tdap for adolescents/adults) are available at most healthcare providers and are covered by most insurance providers.

  • Kids under seven should get a series of five DTaP shots.
  • Pre-teens and teens should get a pertussis (pertussis) booster called Tdap.
  • All adults are recommended to get Tdap, especially if they are in contact with infants. (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nannies, caregivers, childcare staff, etc.)
  • All pregnant women should get the Tdap shot during each pregnancy, during the third trimester, even if you’ve gotten it before.

“The pertussis immunizations you received as a child do not provide lifetime protection. Everyone should have at least one dose of Tdap,” Delmore warned. “Be proactive and check with your doctor to make sure your family is up-to-date on their shots,” she said.

Adults and adolescents are commonly the source of infection for younger children and infants.  Young infants should be kept away from people with cough illnesses. Likewise, people with cough illnesses should always stay away from young infants, since pertussis can cause more severe, even life-threatening, complications in infants.

Delmore advises parents to remind your children to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, dispose of used tissues properly, and wash their hands often. Practicing good respiratory hygiene is a key to reducing the spread of any respiratory illness.

Tdap shots are available at SWDH. To schedule an appointment at SWDH call (208) 455-5345.

#####

MEDIA CONTACT:

Katrina Williams
(208) 455-5317 or (208) 899-1268
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Read More

LAB CONFIRMS ELEVATED E. COLI LEVELS IN LAKE LOWELL

Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has lab test confirmation for elevated E. coli levels exceeding State Water Quality Standards in Lake Lowell. The water sample was taken from the Lower Dam Recreation Area near Lake Lowell Picnic Park. E. coli bacteria is a type of fecal coliform bacteria commonly found in the intestines and feces of animals and humans.  If consumed, water containing animal or human feces can be harmful to humans and animals.

  1. coli infection can, in some rare cases, be fatal. Symptoms include sudden, severe watery diarrhea that may change to bloody stools, abdominal cramping, gas, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fever.

Elevated E. coli levels can make humans and pets sick. As a reminder, there are some important safety and general use tips to remember if you do plan to recreate at Lake Lowell:

  • Don’t ingest the water
  • Wash your hands after any contact with the water
  • If you decide to enter the water, shower after swimming or wading
  • Pick up after your dog
  • Keep your pets out of the water
  • Don’t feed geese or ducks

DEQ will conduct additional monitoring to determine the extent of the E. coli contamination and to identify the source of the bacteria.

###

Chase Cusack, DEQ
Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov
208.373-0490

Katrina Williams, SWDH
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
208.455.5317 (office)
208.899.1268 (cell)

 

Read More

READYKAMP 2018

The Southwest Idaho Medical Reserve Corps held its annual ReadyKamp program with 30 campers and held the overnight camp at Homedale High School July 8-12. The campers learned the basics of emergency preparedness, incident command, fire safety, firefighting, water safety and water rescue, medical triage and first aid, search and rescue, CPR, disaster psychology, wilderness survival, and suicide prevention. ReadyKamp 2018 culminated with a mock disaster and the campers served as the emergency responders using the skills they learned in camp. ReadyKamp 2018 concluded with a graduation banquet where the parents returned and saw presentations by the campers on their favorite areas of the camp curriculum.

Read More

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT HEALTH WILDFIRE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER ACTIVATION 2018

The Southwest District Health Emergency Operations Center (SWDH EOC) was activated on 7/30/2018 to monitor the activities in Adams and Washington counties regarding the Mesa and Keithly fires. The SWDH EOC is concerned and planning for public health impacts that will affect residents and responders in these counties. The SWDH EOC will remain activated until further notice.

Read More