Beaches Across the US Closed Due to High Levels of Bacteria

( – Several states across the United States have closed their beaches due to the presence of excessive bacteria in the water.

In Massachusetts especially, they closed almost forty beaches across the coast due to what they called “bacterial exceedance,” according to the Department of Public Health. These beaches tested positive for high levels of fecal bacteria so people were warned not to swim in the ocean to avoid illness.

Three beaches in California have closed since the end of June because “bacteria levels exceed health standards.” San Diego County’s Department of Environmental Health and Quality said that this is usually caused by sewage or chemical spills.

Health officials didn’t elaborate on what type of bacteria was found in California or New York, but in Massachusetts, they stated that the bacteria type was enterococci. This bacteria is typically found in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Experts have said that this could “indicate possible contamination of streams and rivers by fecal waste.”

The enterococci bacteria can typically cause urinary tract infections, blood infections, and endocarditis, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Heavy rain after longer periods of drought can pick up animal or human excrement, which could then be carried into bodies of water via runoff; heavy rain can also cause sewage systems to overflow, which could also run off into the water.

In addition, Massachusetts beaches were closed due to high levels of cyanobacteria, often called “blue-green algae.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria doesn’t typically affect humans, but it can produce toxins that will make people sick.

The CDC has said to stay out of these bodies of water, especially if it looks cloudier than usual, smells bad, or is discolored.

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