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Water at Ben T. Davis beach has high levels of bacteria, health officials warn

TAMPA — Hillsborough County health officials are warning bathers to stay out of the water at Ben T. Davis beach due to a high concentration of bacteria in the water.

Samples taken from the water off Ben T. Davis beach this week were above the Environmental Protection Agency's threshold for enterococci bacteria.

If infected by the bacteria, people may suffer numerous conditions, including urinary tract infections, inner-abdominal infections, presence of bacteria in the blood and even meningitis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure also could lead to skin rashes and other infections, county health officials said.

The water will be retested at the end of the month, at which point the ban will be lifted if the bacteria level has decreased to a safe range, officials said Friday.

The presence of this kind of bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage, health officials said.

The Environmental Protection Agency's threshold for acceptable enterococci contamination is 104 colony-forming units per 100 millimeters of marine water.

Water at Ben T. Davis beach has high levels of bacteria, health officials warn 04/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 3:21pm]
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