Swimming advisory issued for Dare County site due to high bacteria levels

(WITN)
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:25 AM EDT
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DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - People are being advised by state officials not to swim at a Dare County site due to high bacteria levels.

The advisory is for an area at the Jockey’s Ridge Sound-side Access in Nags Head where test results of water samples indicate a running monthly average of 41 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. This exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period.

WITN is told that enterococci is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. It is not known to cause illness, but scientific studies show that it may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms, which can lead to gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

The state recreational water quality officials remind people that the advisory is not a beach closing and it does not affect the entire Morehead City area. However, the swimming advisories are indeed for waters within 200 feet of the sign, which reads:

“ATTENTION: SWIMMING IN THIS AREA IS NOT RECOMMENDED. BACTERIA TESTING INDICATES LEVELS OF CONTAMINATION THAT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS WATERS WITHIN 200’ OF THIS SIGN. OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR

Sign from the office of the state health director

WITN is told that state officials will continue to test the site and will remove the sign and tell the public when the bacteria levels decrease to permissible standards.

More information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program and a map of testing sites can be found here.

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