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  • City-County Health District

Harmful Algal Bloom Advisory at Lake Ashtabula

“Our partners at North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality have issued a Harmful Algal Bloom Advisory for Lake Ashtabula. The blue-green algae may be harmful to humans and pets. Fish are safe to consume, be sure to rinse thoroughly with tap water before cleaning” states Theresa Will, City-County Health District Administrator. “When in doubt, stay out. You can’t tell for sure if an algal or cyanobacterial bloom is harmful just by looking at it. NDDEQ will continue monitoring the lake every two weeks until the bloom is gone.”

To reduce the risk of illness:

  • Do not swim, waterski, or tube if the water looks like spilled green paint or pea soup.

  • Avoid swallowing water and watch small children and pets who may ingest water.

  • Rinse off with non-lake water after swimming.

  • Stay away from areas of scum when boating.

  • Rinse hands with non-lake water after landing fish.

  • Rinse fish thoroughly with tap water before cleaning.

Illnesses and symptoms can vary depending on how a person or animal was exposed (came into contact with algae, cyanobacteria, or their toxins), how long they were exposed, which type of toxin was present, and how much toxin was present.

Symptoms in people can include

  • Stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Headache, fever, tiredness, or other general symptoms

  • Skin, eye, nose, or throat irritation

  • Neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness or dizziness

Exposure to some toxins—particularly cyanobacterial toxins—can also harm your liver and kidneys. If you think you may have symptoms caused by harmful algae, cyanobacteria, or their toxins, contact your healthcare provider or poison control center.

Animals can get very sick or even die within minutes to days after exposure to harmful algae and cyanobacteria. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or near water. Animals are often the first affected, in part because they are more likely to swim in or drink from bodies of water that contain harmful algae or cyanobacteria.

Advisory updates for North Dakota lakes are available at

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