Great Ohio River Swim canceled, toxin levels exceed recommended - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Great Ohio River Swim canceled, toxin levels exceed recommended threshold

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Th algae is not clearing from the Ohio River as fast as expected, according to officials. 

The Great Ohio River Swim has elected to proactively postpone the swim to Saturday, October 10. 

The location, schedule and registration arrangements will remain the same and swimmers already registered online are all set to participate on the new date, said representatives. 

Officials issued a public health advisory for the Ohio River as a result of microcystin levels tested in the river water samples. 

Microcystin is a toxic chemical produced by cyanobacteria also known as blue-green algae. Some species cause harmful algal blooms (HABs) that can make people and pets sick depending on the amount of exposure. 

An advisory means toxin levels exceed the recommended threshold and swimming or wading is not recommended for the elderly, very young people and people with compromised immune systems, said officials. 

“Signs are being posted at boat ramps warning people that high levels of algal toxins have been detected in the water, and that swimming and wading are not recommended for the very young, the very old and individuals with compromised immune systems,” said Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram.

HAB toxins can cause a rash, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and more severe symptoms at elevated levels of exposure. Seek immediate medical attention if you become sick after recreating on the Ohio River.  

Tips to avoid becoming ill from contact with blue-green algae include: 

  • Avoid water that looks like spilled paint, is discolored or has surface scums, mats or films.
  • Bathe or shower with warm, soapy water after being in water that may be contaminated.
  • Prevent pets and livestock from coming into contact or swallowing water containing harmful algal blooms.

If you plan to eat the fish you catch, remove the guts and liver and rinse fillets in tap water before eating. 

Other activities near the water such as camping, biking and hiking are safe. 

If you are picnicking, wash your hands before eating if you have had contact with river water or shore debris. 

Visit www.epa.ohio.gov for more information. 

Copyright 2015 WXIX. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly