OLDSMAR — If you plan to go canoeing in the tidal marshes at the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve, don't tip over. And swimmers, find another beach.
The Pinellas County Health Department Friday warned that the area, at the northern end of Old Tampa Bay, on the eastern side of the Oldsmar peninsula, is a potential health risk.
The department's most recent test showed poor water quality because of the presence of enterococci, a bacteria that lives in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. An indication of fecal pollution, it may come from stormwater runoff, wildlife, pet waste and sewage.
People with compromised immune systems and those with open wounds are the most vulnerable. Contact could result in rashes, infection or disease.
"If the water is particularly still or we haven't gotten a lot of rain, the bacteria can build up,'' health department spokeswoman Jeannine Mallory said Friday.
She said if water accidently splashes onto a sore, "wash it well.''
This is the second time the health department has issued an advisory for Mobbly Bayou. The first was in mid December.
Mallory said the water will be retested on Tuesday to see if the problem has cleared.