Health alert over toxic algae-bloom further extended at Lake Jesup

People advised not to drink, swim, boat in waters with visible algae bloom

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A health alert for Lake Jesup, prompted by toxins from a blue-green algae bloom, has again been extended.

The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County said the bloom was first detected in the lake in early June. Another water sample taken on June 29 showed the presence of algal toxins still in the water, according to a news release, so the alert was extended through July 29.

On Thursday, health officials further extended the alert to September 11.

“The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Jesup where algal blooms are present,” the health department said in a news release.

[TRENDING: Can you mix-and-match COVID-19 shots? | What the heat index is and why it matters | Heat is on: Money-saving tips]

People are encouraged to follow precautions around the water at Lake Jesup:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

Blue-green algae is a type of bacteria that occurs when the rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of cells that discolor the water and often produce floating mats of algae that can be thick like guacamole and give off an unpleasant smell.

To report a suspected bloom, call the toll-free DEP hotline at 855-305-3903 or report online.

The map below shows blue-green algae testing sites was provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.