Health advisory issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Hells Canyon Reservoir. SWDH urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from “Big Bar” at the Hells Canyon water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Hells Canyon Reservoir, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

No updates will be provided until DEQ testing reveals toxins are below the health standard. The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

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. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. SWDH works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Brownlee Reservoir. SWDH urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from the water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Brownlee Reservoir, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

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. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. SWDH works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded 

CALDWELL, IDAHO – The epidemiologic disease investigation has been concluded for the probable case of monkeypox originally announced by Southwest District Health (SWDH) on July 29, 2022. Due to a laboratory error at the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL), results for the Non Variola Orthopox (“monkeypox”) virus assay have been amended. Lab results have confirmed that, to date, there are zero (0) confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Southwest District Health region. The region Southwest District Health serves includes Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, respectively. 

Southwest District Health urges the community to stay current on monkeypox trends in our area and to take steps to prevent monkeypox from taking hold in our community. Through informed decision making, individuals and families can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading monkeypox.  

SWDH encourages anyone who is experiencing an unexplained skin rash with or without a fever to contact their healthcare provider and avoid contact with others. If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. Tell your doctor if in the month before developing symptoms: 

Anyone who is ill with these symptoms is encouraged to follow SWDH and their healthcare provider’s advice to help prevent the spread to others. 

For more information on monkeypox please visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

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Southwest District Health Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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