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UPDATE: Lake rash ‘not a goose poop problem’

Ducks that dominate a point at Lake Tabor last summer are back in force this year. (Deuce Niven photo)


UPDATE: July 31
    “It’s not a goose poop problem,” Columbus County Health Director Kim Smith says of the unexplained rash some recent swimmers at Lake Tabor experienced.
    Test results from water taken at Lake Tabor on Monday did not show unsafe levels of fecal bacteria, Smith said.
    Health officials will make contact with those from the state Division of Water Quality to pursue further investigation, Smith said.
    See the original story below. Look for more on this story in the Aug. 6 Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.

July 30
    A recent Sunday swim at Lake Tabor has a local group raising water quality questions after some of its members experienced an unexplained rash.
    Garrett Hardee of Tabor City was part of the 20-member group enjoying the lake on July 13. Seven people, two adults and five children, were soon dealing with a rash that resembled poison ivy, though it did not ooze, within a day of the swim.
    Itching, Hardee said, was as bad as poison ivy, and the rash grew, but did not spread to other parts of the body.
    For Hardee a trip to the doctor resulted in a prescription for Zovirax, a drug for viral bacteria that might be responsible for the angry sores in several spots on his cap.
    A cream for contact dermatitis was prescribed for Hardee’s child, who had a breakout on his back.
    “He is getting better, but I am afraid he is going to be scarred when this stuff clears up,” Hardee said of his son. “It just has that look of the beginnings of a scar.”
    Geese, or more precisely goose poop, may be to blame.
    Confirmation could come later this week, Columbus County Health Director Kim Smith said, with a water sample taken at the Lake Tabor pier on Monday sent to a state lab in Raleigh.
    That test will determine if fecal matter is in the water in high enough concentrations to cause problems, Smith said.

    Smith said she was not aware of a large-scale goose problem at Lake Tabor, though residents there clearly are.
    Bill Phipps, a local attorney and Lake Tabor resident, will ask the Tabor City Town Council on Aug. 12 to allow goose hunting at Lake Tabor in September, action he said is needed to thin the troublesome flock.
    For more on this story see today’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.

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