High levels of fecal bacteria prompt health advisory at iconic Cannon Beach

CANNON BEACH, Ore. -- The Oregon Health Authority has issued a public health advisory for higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Cannon Beach.

Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, according to the health department, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. 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.

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.

While this advisory is in effect at Cannon Beach, visitors should avoid 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.

Although state officials advise against water contact, they continue to encourage other recreational activities (flying kites, picnicking, playing on the beach, walking, etc.) on this beach because they pose no health risk even during an advisory. Neighboring beaches are not affected by this advisory.

You can visit Oregon's  Beach Monitoring Program website or call 971-673-0482, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free) for more information.

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