Avoid algae on Lake Pontchartrain, health department says

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Health is telling people to avoid touching algae that are growing the surface of Lake Pontchartrain.

The department said in a statement Friday that the algae are blue, bright green, brown or red and can smell like rotting plants.

Exposure to the algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Sometimes, high exposures of toxins associated with algae can affect the liver and nervous system.

Anyone exposed to it should wash with soap and water.

Algae toxins have not been found in the edible parts of fish, but the health department says fish should not be harvested or eaten from the lake during the algae bloom.

Pets should not be allowed to swim in or drink from water with algae.

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