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Lake Tschida

Blue-green algae similar to this archive photo has been found on several area lakes this week as a result of hot temperatures. Health advisories have been issued and people are told to avoid contact for themselves, pets and livestock.

The state Department of Health has issued a blue-green algae advisory for Camels Hump Dam in Golden Valley County, Green Lake in McIntosh County and Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Burleigh County.

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that live in all types of water. It grows quickly, or blooms, when the water is warm, slow-moving and abundant with nutrients.

Severe blooms can make water looked like spilled green paint or green pea soup.

Blue-green algae sometimes produces toxins in water where, if swallowed, it can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, numbness, rash and death. There are no known antidotes for these toxins.

The advisory doesn't prohibit use of lakes, but health officials advise people to avoid areas where blooms are present. Also, lake users are advised to rinse themselves and pets thoroughly and immediately in fresh water after possible contact and prevent pets and livestock from drinking affected water.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or


Education and Health Reporter