RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- State health officials are warning western North Carolina residents to avoid eating some fish in two lakes because they have elevated levels of mercury.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that officials said people shouldn't eat some fish caught in Lake Chatuge in Clay County and Lake Nantahala in Macon County. In Lake Nantahala, the warning involves smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch and largemouth bass.

In Lake Chatuge, it covers white bass or largemouth bass.

Previous studies have discovered elevated levels of mercury in largemouth bass in all North Carolina waters. Testing has confirmed elevated levels in the other fish.

The warning covers all pregnant or nursing women and women aged 15 to 44 years old because they're considered to be of childbearing age. It also covers children under age 15.

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