State officials on Monday ruled out a reported illness as being linked to Grand Lake St. Marys.
Ohio Department of Health spokesperson Tessie Pollock released an update of the statuses of statewide reports of illness being examined for possible links to Ohio waterways. Officials ruled one of the two reports that are currently under investigation regarding Grand Lake St. Marys as not a case. That ruling means any report of illness cannot be linked to the lake.
In an e-mail, Pollock noted a reported illness can be determined to be not a case if the person did not have contact with the water, the onset of symptoms was not in a reasonable time after exposure, another illness could have caused symptoms, a physician’s diagnosis indicates another reason for the symptoms and there was no documented algal bloom.
Last week, officials ruled a reported illness as a probable case linked to Grand Lake St. Marys. That case involved a Montgomery County man who reportedly fell ill following a weekend fishing tournament on the lake.
Officials also classified a reported illness on Buckeye Lake as a probable case of illness. Those are the only two reports to be labeled as probable cases in the state this year.
The state has four classifications for illnesses — not a case, suspected case, probably case and confirmed case. A probable case meets the criteria of a suspected case — the presence of an algal bloom, onset of associated signs and symptoms within a reasonable time after exposure and without identification of another cause of illness — but includes laboratory documentation of a harmful algal bloom in the water. A confirmed case meets the criteria of a probable case combined with professional judgment based on medical review.
Last year, there were 21 cases investigated by the Ohio Department of Health regarding Grand Lake St. Marys. Twelve of those cases came back as not a case. So far this year, the state has received nine reports of illness, with four being deemed not a case.
Currently, Grand Lake St. Marys is listed as a public health advisory under the revamped warning system unveiled this year. As part of a public health advisory, visitors to the lake are encouraged to refrain from swimming and wading in the lake, water should not be swallowed and surface scum should be avoided. The most recent round on testing, which was conducted Thursday at the six USGS buoy locations, ranged from 19.1 parts per billion to 40.2 ppb. Last year, results exceeded 2,000 ppb.
For more information, visit OhioAlgaeInfo.com.
By Mike Burkholder, The Evening Leader