Harmful algal bloom found in Silver Lake near Boise's Lake Harbor area
Photo Courtesy of{ }Central District Health

Officials have issued a health advisory for Silver Lake in Boise's Lake Harbor area after a harmful algal bloom (HAB) was found.

Recent water samples taken show concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria are present in Silver Lake. These bacteria can be harmful to humans and animals. Especially those with liver or kidney damage. 

HABs are most common in the summer months through the fall.

Follow these safety precautions when near a body of water that has a health advisory:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. 

Blooms may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and they can have a foul odor. Blooms can move to different areas of water.

Symptoms include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. 

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