Fecal Bacteria Cause 'No Swim Advisory' in Sarasota County

Uncovering Florida

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On top of elevated red tide levels, beach-goers in Sarasota County have a new reason to avoid swimming at the beach this week. Due to levels of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing earlier in the week, yesterday at 2p.m. Sarasota County health officials issued a “No Swim” advisory for Lido Casino Beach.

"The amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Monday, March 13 was outside acceptable limits. The beach remains open, but wading, swimming and water recreation is not recommended when no swim advisories are in place," the official county press release states.

"'When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill. 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 National Library of Medicine states that enterococci are shed in both the feces of humans and animals and are "opportunistic pathogens that cause millions of human and animal infections annually."

"Enterococcus bacteria can come from a variety of natural and human-made sources. These include pet waste, livestock, birds, land-dwelling and marine wildlife, stormwater runoff, and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills," the county press release confirmed.

According to a post on Sarasota City's Instagram page, the Department of Health-Sarasota County resampled the beach on Thursday, March 16, and expects to receive those results later today.

"Until further notice, signage advising the public not to swim or engage in water recreation will stay in place until follow-up water testing results meet the EPA’s recreational water quality standards."

You can find the full press release here.

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