No flesh eating bacteria in Florida coastal waters

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Florida Department of Health: There is no flesh eating bacteria in Florida coastal waters

Yesterday, reports came out about flesh-eating bacteria closing Panhandle beaches. Those are false and have been corrected. There is no flesh eating bacteria in the Gulf or other Florida coastal waters.

There were health advisories issued due to high levels of enterococci bacteria (again, not flesh-eating) present at some beaches, but no beaches were closed. Enteric bacteria can be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife and human sewage. If they are present in high concentrations and are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause people to become ill and experience infections or rashes.

For up-to-date beach water quality information, please visit the Florida Healthy Beaches website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/
WALTON COUNTY BEACH SAMPLING RESULTS – 1 Advisory Lifted – 1 Remains

WALTON COUNTY BEACH SAMPLING RESULTS
~Miramar Beach Access Health Advisory Lifted, Blue Mountain Beach Access Health Advisory Still In Effect~

Walton County – The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) conducts regularly scheduled saltwater beach water quality monitoring at seven sites through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Samples are collected from March through the end of October. The water samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. The purpose of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program is to determine whether Florida has significant coastal beach water quality problems and whether future beach monitoring efforts are necessary.

Enterococci Water Quality
SP-1 Miramar Beach 32 Good
SP-4 Blue Mountain Beach 200 Poor

Water quality classifications are based upon United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended criteria and Florida Healthy Beaches Program Categories:
Good = 0 – 35 Enterococci CFU per 100 ml of marine
Moderate = 36 – 70 Enterococci CFU per 100 ml of marine water
Poor = 71 or greater Enterococci CFU per 100 ml of marine water

The Health Advisory for the Miramar Beach Access has been lifted. The water quality in this area has improved considerably due to the reduction in bacteria levels.

The Health Advisory Blue Mountain Beach Access is still in effect based on the enterococci standard recommended by the EPA. This should be considered a potential health risk to the bathing public.

If you should have any questions, please contact DOH-Walton at (850) 892-8021 or visit the Florida Department of Health’s Beach Water Quality website www.floridahealth.gov/healthy-environments/beach-water-quality/index.html.

About the Florida Department of Health
The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov
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