While it may be dry enough to spark fears among firefighters this season, Idaho has seen its water worries as well.
Eagle Island State Park is now reopen for swimming after the Central District Health Department, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality cleared the popular swimming hole for recreation. Several swimmers had gotten sick and tests revealed that the swimming area had been infected with the Norovirus, most likely from an infected swimmer. They drained the lake and replaced it with fresh water.
“We all have a responsibility to prevent illness in ourselves and keep our waters clean. Avoid swallowing water or getting water in your mouth and never swim when you are ill. This will help keep your family healthy and prevent the spread of disease to others,” said Kimberly Link, Program Manager for Communicable Disease Control at CDHD.
For those heading into the mountains, swimming has become an issue at Horsetheif Reservoir. Visitors to the reservoir have reported rashes after swimming in the waters. A press release issued by Idaho Fish & Game says that, while not confirmed, it most likely is cercarial dermatitis, a small parasitic worm commonly known as swimmer’s itch. The parasite dies upon trying to enter human skin but can leave an itchy rash that last for a week or so. It is otherwise harmless.
Not so harmless are reports that West Nile Virus has shown up in traps near Middleton, and for the first time this year the virus has appeared in Ada County. It has been detected in traps this week in Eagle, both north and south of the Boise River. Avoiding over-irrigating and eliminating stagnant water can help keep the mosquito population down. Mosquitos are primarily responsible for spreading the West Nile Virus. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.