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Swimmers Beware: Rockville Lake Tests Positive For Deadly Toxin

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A toxin produced by algae has rendered Lake Needwood off-limits for swimming.
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A toxin produced by algae has rendered Lake Needwood off-limits for swimming.

Health officials in Maryland are warning residents to exercise caution in and around a popular lake in Rockville.

Lake Needwood is a 75-acre reservoir just east of Redland Road. in Rockville. Earlier, this month, testing revealed elevated levels of microcystin, a toxic substance produced by a species of blue-green algae. The toxin can cause harm to the liver of humans and pets.

Jai Cole, Nature Resources Manager for the Montgomery County Department of Parks says the overwhelming concern is for your companion.

"To be honest we're mostly concerned about pets, we're mostly concerned about dogs," Cole says. "So we encourage people not to let their dogs swim in the lake, or drink from the edge of the lake both of which should be prevented if the dog is on a leash as they’re supposed to be.”

Portions of the lake are expected to be contaminated for the rest of the summer. Cole also suggests you wash your hands thoroughly if you touch any lake water and don't eat the organ meat of fish caught in the lake.

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