Gulf Bacteria Levels Rise

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — During the summer months in Panama City Beach, an increase in rainfall may create some problems. The Bay County Health Department says it adds to the bacteria count in Bay and Gulf waters.

The Bay County Health Departments’ “Healthy Beaches” program allows environmental specialists to test the waters in the Gulf and the Bay for bacteria. New funding has allowed these sites to be tested on a weekly basis now.

Beach Access 41- between Edgewater and Ocean Towers has seen an increase in its bacterial count. (1211 FRONT BEACH ROAD)

Joe Scully, environmental supervisor says especially during the warm, wet months, bacteria levels rise.

“Typically when we see those numbers go up, the rainfall amounts, then we’ll see an increase in enterococcus bacteria.”

That’s why the health department is testing the waters more frequently. This advisory has been posted the last four weeks as the levels go up. They believe this area specifically is more prone due to water runoff.

This bacteria is known to cause gastrointestinal illnesses and infections.

“Anytime, whether there’s an advisory or not, if you have any open cuts or wounds we don’t recommend you go in the water at all.”

Even people with lower immune systems should be careful. The bacteria can only harm you if you swallow it and creates. Symptoms are similar to food poisoning.

“We don’t have the authority to close the beach but what we try to do is give them a warning, or give them an advisory about the increased bacteria levels. By sending press releases out to the media outlets, posting it on our webpage, the Florida Department of Health website, and we have signs out at the testing locations.”

For more details follow the link below.

http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/index.html

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