Nebraska state officials issue 3 health alerts -
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Nebraska state officials issue 3 health alerts

Nebraska state officials on Friday said they have issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Kirkman's Cove in Richardson County and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.

The other health alert that had been in effect, for the Martin Bay portion of Lake McConaughy, has ended because of low readings for two consecutive weeks.

Weekly sampling has been conducted at 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. Samples taken earlier this week at Bluestem Lake, Kirkman's Cove and Willow Creek Lake were above the state's health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion of total microcystin, which is a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.

The algae can cause itching, rashes and blisters on the skin and, if ingested, digestive issues.

The alerts will continue at the three lakes for at least two more weeks.

When a health alert is issued, signs are posted to advise the public to use caution. Swimming areas will be closed during the alert. Recreational boating and fishing are permitted, but the public is advised to avoid activities that could involve accidental ingestion of water and to avoid full immersion in water at the affected bodies of water. People still can use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities, state officials said.

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