Orlando, Florida – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County issued a health alert by the presence of harmful toxins from blue-green algae in Lake Ola – NE Shore. This is in response to a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 1/12/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Ola – NE Shore.
We advise residents and visitors to take the following precautions:
- Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is visible flowering.
- Wash skin and clothing with soap and water if you come into contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
- Keep pets away from the area. Waters where algae proliferate are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae is present.
- Do not cook or wash dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling water will not eliminate toxins.
- Eating healthy fish fillets caught in flowering freshwater lakes is safe. Rinse the fish fillets under tap or bottled water, discard the guts and cook the fish thoroughly.
- Do not eat shellfish in algal blooming waters.
What are blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae is a type of bacteria common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid algae growth leads to a buildup of individual cells that discolor the water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors. Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, standing water conditions, and excess nutrients. Flowers can appear throughout the year, but are more frequent in summer and autumn. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.
Is it harmful?
Blue-green algae blooms can affect human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals. For additional information on the possible health effects of algal blooms, visit floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.
Find current information about the state of Florida’s water quality and public health notices for harmful algal blooms and visiting beach conditions ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov. Protecting Florida Together is the state’s concerted effort to provide statewide water quality information to prioritize environmental transparency and commitment to action..
What should I do if I see an algae bloom?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to the FDEP, call the toll free hotline at 855-305-3903 or report online.
For report fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 1-800-636-0511.
report symptoms exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak immediately with a poison specialist.
Contact your veterinarian if you believe your pet has become ill after consuming or having contact with water contaminated with blue-green algae.
If you have additional questions or health concerns about blue-green algae blooms, call the Florida Department of Health at the Orange County Call Center at 407-723-5004.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.