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Swimming advisory issued for Franklin County beach due to high levels of bacteria

Posted at 12:27 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 12:28:07-04

CARRABELLE BEACH, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida Department of Health in Franklin County has issued a swimming advisory for Carrabelle Beach after recent samples showed elevated levels of fecal matter.

The advisory was issued May 29 for the Carrabelle Beach Park sampling site along Franklin County's coast.

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.

The advisory will remain in effect until further notice. The beach is not closed to the public and routine testing will continue, officials said.

A sample from Carrabelle Beach on May 26 came back with a 'poor' reading, which indicates that the water there may pose “increased risk of illness, particularly for susceptible individuals,”

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.

No other beach in Franklin County is under a swimming advisory. Beaches across the state are regularly tested for the bacteria as part of the FDOH's Healthy Beaches Program.