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Deadly Toxic Algae Blooming On Sacramento County Waterways During Drought

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Sacramento County health officials are warning the public and their pets to stay away from water that has scum layers or any other bloom of blue-green algae.

Signs are up along Sacramento's waterways warning to stay out of the water, because of the toxic algae thriving in California's drought and warm temperatures.

"The drought conditions are similar to conditions that favor algae growth," said health department spokesman John Rogers. "Low water flows,river slows down, and allows areas for algae to accumulate."

The algae has already proven deadly, as a local veterinarian said a dog has died after swimming at Sand Cove Park.

Health officials say blue-green algae is a type of bacteria that's naturally found in fresh and marine water. Warm, slow-moving waters are rich in phosphorous and nitrogen that can cause algae growth in late summer and early fall. It's only a health concern when it's found in large quantities.

Exposure can cause a rash, an allergic reaction, or gastrointestinal problems. In large quantities, it can cause neurological or liver damage and even death, especially in animals.

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