High bacteria count advisory issued for beach north of Honokōhau Harbor
The Hawai‘i Department of Health is advising the public that a high bacteria count advisory has been issued for a West Hawai‘i beach.
The Health Department’s Clean Water Branch says it detected an excessive amount of enterococci, a bacteria that lives in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, including humans, in waters at the beach north of Honokōhau Harbor. Levels of 885 per 100 mL were detected during routine beach monitoring.
The advisory was issued because testing for enterococci indicated potentially harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or parasites could be present in the water. The advisory was posted at the harbor and will remain in effect until water sample results no longer exceed the threshold level of 130 enterococci per 100 mL.
The Clean Water Branch advises that swimming at beaches with polluted water can make people ill. Keiki, kupuna and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely people to become sick or get infections after coming into contact with polluted water.
The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by fecal pathogens is gastroenteritis. It occurs in a variety of forms that can include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache or fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections.
In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases.
Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses can be unpleasant, they are usually not very serious — they require little or no treatment or get better quickly with treatment. They also have no long-term health effects.
For more information, click here.