Southwest District Health issues public health advisory for CJ Strike Reservoir

Idaho public health officials are warning people to stay out of the CJ Strike Reservoir and avoid exposing children and pets to water.

Southwest District health officials issued a public health advisory for the CJ Strike Reservoir on Tuesday based on Idaho Department of Environmental Quality testing that showed elevated concentrations of cyanobacteria, Southwest District Health spokeswoman Ashley Anderson said in a press release on Tuesday.

The CJ Strike Reservoir is located near Grandview and Bruneau in Owyhee and Elmore counties. It’s one of the most popular fishing reservoirs in the state due to the variety of bass, trout, catfish and bluegill, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Cyanobacteria are found in Idaho waters, and when temperatures rise, they bloom and can release toxic chemicals called cyanotoxins into the water, public health officials said.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure may include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and wheezing. If water is ingested, it can produce more serious symptoms that affect the liver and nervous system, public health officials said.

Health officials said dogs are often the first to be affected by exposure to cyanotoxins because they drink or swim in water or lick contaminated water from their fur. Officials have warned that dogs, other pets and livestock can get sick or even die within minutes of being exposed to cyanotoxins.

Until further notice, Southwest District Health Officials and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality recommend that people take the following precautions:

  • Avoid swimming, wading or other activities in the CJ Strike tank.
  • Take extra precautions to ensure that children and pets are not exposed to water.
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing flower, which may look like surface scum, spilled paint, carpets or moss and give off a foul odor. If it is unsafe to cook or drink this water even after boiling or filtering it, public health officials have said.
  • If people or pets are exposed to water, wash and clean exposed animal skin or fur with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with clean water if you catch or handle fish caught in blooming waters. If you eat fish, wash it, clean it, fillet it and remove the organs, fat and skin before cooking and eating it.
  • Consult a health care provider if a person has symptoms that persist and contact a veterinarian if pets or livestock appear sick after drinking or entering water.

South West District health officials said they would notify the public when it is likely that there is no further cause for concern.

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