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FDOH: No swimming advisory removed for Shell Point beach

Posted at 3:35 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 11:16:19-04

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla.(WTXL) — The Florida Department of Health in Wakulla County has removed the no swim advisory for Shell Point Beach.

Officials say the beach is now safe to swim.

If you have any questions, please contact the Wakulla County Health Department at 850-926-0400 or visit the DOH Beach Water Quality website here.

The Florida Department of Health in Wakulla County has issued a swimming advisory for Shell Point Beach after recent samples showed elevated levels of fecal matter.

At this time, swimming is not recommended due to an increased risk of illness.

DOH-Wakulla will be conducting follow up sampling and testing and will remove the advisory when levels are within an acceptable range.

A swim advisory means that contact with the water may pose an increased risk of infectious disease, based upon Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria, and swimming is not recommended at this time.

In order to protect the health of the public visiting Florida’s coastal and intracoastal waters, DOH-Wakulla has been systematically sampling the local beach waters for indicators of human and animal pathogens.

According to FDOH, the amount of enterococci, a type of bacteria that is typically present in the gut and bowel of humans and animals, exceeded acceptable levels at the testing site.

According to the EPA, enterococci are "indicators of the presence of fecal material in water and, therefore, of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa." That means they can sicken recreational swimmers and others who eat raw shellfish or fish.

If they are present in high concentrations in recreational waters and are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause human disease, infections or rashes.

For more information on the program, visit the Florida Healthy Beaches website here.