Utah Poison Control Center fields hundreds of calls related to toxic algae

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 19:50:54-04

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Poison Control Center says their phones have been ringing virtually nonstop since the Utah County Health Department closed Utah Lake because of toxic algae levels.

"Friday alone, we had 230 cases that were related," said Barbara Crouch, Executive Director for Utah Poison Control Center. "We've had close to 450 cases total."

Crouch said about 95 percent of the calls are related to human health, the other five to animal.  Additionally, she says about 20 percent of callers believe they have symptoms from the toxic algae.

‪"The most common are stomach complaints, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, skin irritation and eye irritations," Crouch said.

‪In most cases, Crouch said, the symptoms should clear up on their own after a day or two, but in some rare circumstances, people may need medical attention.

She says the CDC also expects more calls in the coming days after news Tuesday that the algae appears to be spreading further down the Jordan River, which connects to Utah Lake.

‪Salt Lake City officials have closed down Liberty Park pond and Utah County Health officials have closed down all parts of the Jordan River that flow through the county.

Those decisions come just a day after several cities near the Jordan River and Utah Lake announced they were shutting off secondary water supplies to residents, out of fear the water could end up on people's lawns and possibly in their backyard gardens.