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Health advisory issued for Spirit Lake

| September 1, 2022 1:00 AM

A health advisory has been issued for Spirit Lake.

The Panhandle Health District in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued the warning Wednesday for Spirit Lake and Lake Cocolalla, according to a press release.

Recent water sampling by DEQ indicates the presence of cyanobacteria, also known as a harmful algae bloom or blue-green algae in Spirit Lake and Lake Cocolalla.

The public is urged to use caution when recreating in or near the water, especially where ingestion is a risk, the release said.

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.

Caution should be taken anywhere the water appears discolored or murky as HABs can spread or move with wind and water currents. HABs have the potential to produce dangerous toxins especially when accumulated in high concentrations.

Anyone recreating in Spirit Lake or Lake Cocolalla is advised to take precautions to avoid exposure to lake water appearing to contain a HAB. Private domestic water system owners utilizing the lake as a drinking water source are cautioned that potentially present toxins cannot be removed by boiling or filtering the water. If contact (swimming, bathing or showering) has been made with water containing a HAB, it is recommended to wash off with fresh water.

If people choose to eat fish from these lakes, it is recommended they remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, since toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues.

Symptoms of exposure to algal toxins vary according to exposure. Symptoms include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingestion of water. If symptoms persist, consult with your health-care provider.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at or IDHW’s website at