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Zion Officials: Harmful Toxins Present In Narrows Portion Of Virgin River

SPRINGDALE, Utah – Authorities with the National Park Service have issued an alert warning recreators not to come in contact with the water from the Virgin River.

Zion National Park staff have been monitoring the waters after a reported pet fatality in July of last year.

According to a statement from the park, concentrations of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins have increased in the North Fork tributary of the river. The levels are high enough that they post a risk to people and animals.

Cyanobacteria forms shelves at the waterline including bulbous growths as seen here. (Photo: Zion National Park)

Officials have also been monitoring toxins in the North Creek and La Verkin Creek tributaries.

“… Visitors are encouraged to avoid all contact with the water in the North Fork of the Virgin River, including the Narrows, until further notice,” according to the NPS statement.

Cyanobacteria produces anatoxin-a, which is especially dangerous to children and pets. The toxin can be fatal if ingested, and dogs should not be allowed to drink water from any areas of the river or irrigation ditches.

Park guests should avoid primary contact with water in the North Creek and La Verkin Creek, and authorities noted visitors should not be drinking water from any of the streams in the park – even if it’s been filtered.

The Utah Department of Health encourages people to contact the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 if they or their animals have unexplained illness or signs of poisoning.

(Photo: Zion National Park)

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