Microscopic Dangers Lurk In Oklahoma Lake Water

Aug 27, 2013

The Department of Environmental Quality is urging Oklahomans to be wary of microorganisms when swimming or boating on the state's untreated lakes and streams during the long Labor Day weekend.

Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma
Credit GRDA

DEQ says certain kinds of bacteria, viruses and protozoa can occur naturally in waterways while others are carried from a variety of sources. Some can cause mild problems such as ear infections, swimmer's itch and gastrointestinal disorders. Others can cause rare but serious conditions such as eye infections and some forms of meningitis.

State health officials say a 9-year-old Bryan County boy died last year after being infected by a tiny, single-cell organism while swimming and diving in the Red River.

DEQ says swimmers should pay close attention to local water conditions and obey posted signs and follow their recommendations.


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