Photo via hillsboroughcounty.org
The Florida Department of Health
(DOH) in Hillsborough County announced a "no swim" public health advisory yesterday for Bahia Beach and E.G. Simmons Conservation Park due to high levels of enteric bacteria
While swimming, wading and water recreation is off-limits, the beaches are still open.
Enterococci, a bacteria that typically inhabits the intestinal tract of mammals, usually appears as a result of fecal matter from stormwater runoff, pets, wildlife and human sewage and is known to cause human disease, infections and rashes.
In Sarasota County, Bird Key Park/Ringling Causeway, Siesta Key Beach, Service Club Beach, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach, Caspersen Beach and Manasota Key Beach. currently enforcing "no swim" advisories.
DOH first identified the bacteria at the Sarasota area beaches on July 25.
“When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill," the DOH in Sarasota County's Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham said in a statement. "People, especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system that swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses."
"If water contacts a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes," the agency added.
According to Hillsborough County's DOH, Bahia and E.G. Simmons Conservation Park will be resampled and tested for safe bacteria levels next week. Additional water testing in Sarasota County is currently underway to determine when the beaches can reopen.