Beaches reopen after swimmer’s itch outbreak |

Beaches reopen after swimmer’s itch outbreak

By laura brown

Staff Writer

Lake of the Pines officials re-opened their lake this week, posting precautions after an outbreak of swimmer’s itch closed the reservoir earlier.

By Wednesday, crews had completed an herbicide treatment of the lake’s aquatic weeds, thought to be habitat for the tiny snails that release parasites into the water and cause the rash known as swimmer’s itch, said general manager Kathryn Henricksen.

Notices have been posted at all beaches and at marina gates where people access their boats, Henricksen said.

The notices recommend toweling dry and showering immediately after swimming in the lake to reduce the risk of getting swimmer’s itch.

Officials made the decision Wednesday to re-open the lake after treating the weeds, air and lake temperatures cooled down and safety precautions with Web site links were posted, Henricksen said.

So far, officials have not found a way to test the waters for the presence of parasites. Swimmers enter at their own risk, and there is no guarantee they won’t get the rash, Henricksen said.

“I would suggest members are still concerned with the lake, and we are, too,” Henricksen said. “We continue to focus our efforts to resolve the swimmer’s itch issue.”

Guards closed seven beaches Sunday after the association received about 20 complaints of the itchy skin rash that looks like chicken pox. At least two people who have contacted The Union reported their children contracted the rash several weeks ago.

On Sunday, Lake of the Pines will hold its annual outdoor concert, Music on the Lake.

“It’s a big draw for the community,” Henricksen said.

The association will continue to look at all available actions to combat the parasites. One option they are considering is a treatment using copper sulfite; it is not recommended for multi-use lakes because it has an adverse effect on aquatic animals, Henricksen said.

“We have concern and reservation,” she said. “We’re approaching that treatment with caution.”

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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