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Coroner says teen got toxin from algae

Coroner says teen got toxin from algae

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Associated Press

MADISON - A coroner has concluded that a teenager's death last year was from exposure to a toxin released by algae.

Dane Rogers, 17, of Cottage Grove, went into shock and suffered a seizure before his heart failed in July 2002 - two days after he swallowed water while splashing and diving in a pond at a golf facility, noted Dane County Coroner John Stanley in his report.

Another teen, unnamed in the report, also went in the pond with Rogers and became sick later, complaining of severe diarrhea and abdominal pain, but he survived.

Tests of blood and stool samples from the boys found the common blue-green algae, known as Anabaena flos-aquae, and its toxin, Anatoxin-a.

Stanley said he decided to release the report to make the public aware of the potential dangers of algal toxins in small ponds.

"There are a lot of ponds out there with a lot more algae than was in this one," he said. "We wanted the public to know that you should not go swimming in algae-covered ponds. Parents should even be cautious not to let children collect golf balls from golf course ponds."

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