Oregon again cautions against contact with ocean water at Sunset Bay

Sunset Bay. Photo by Debbie Tegtmeier via ChimeIn

COOS BAY, Ore. - Avoid direct contact with the water at Sunset Bay State Park Beach due to elevated levels of fecal bacteria, the Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday.

The bacteria "can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses," state health officials said. "People should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted. This applies especially to children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria."

The state also advised against "wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm."

Sunset Bay has been subject to such warnings repeatedly this year. State health officials have launched an investigative study in an attempt to locate the source of the bacteria.

Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from both shore and inland sources such as stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife.

You can check the latest water contact advisories via the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website or call 971-673-0440, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free)

Other activities - like photographing the sunset and sharing the images on ChimeIn - are still safe.

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