LOS BANOS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The California Department of Water Resources warned swimmers this week not to go to Merced County’s San Luis Reservoir due to a dangerous type of algal bloom.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the state agency reported that blue-green algae had been identified on the water. Officials warn that swimming and other activities that could cause someone to come into contact with the algae are not considered safe.
According to the DWR, exposure to toxic blue algae can cause eye irritation, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold and flu symptoms. Pet owners are especially warned not to let their pets enter the water and lick their fur afterwards.
Officials add that bloom conditions can change quickly — and wind, waves and other disturbances on the water can move the algae around and make it more concentrated in specific parts of the tank.
Anyone camping near the San Luis Reservoir is also asked not to drink, cook or wash dishes with untreated surface water, adding that usual water purification techniques (such as camping filters, tablets and boiling) do not remove algae toxins.