published Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Health officials warn of bacteria off Georgia coast

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Public health officials have issued a bacteria advisory for Strand Beach near the Tybee Island pier, and authorities are urging swimmers to avoid water in the area until further notice.

The Savannah Morning News reports that water quality samples showed high levels of

Water quality samples from the beaches spanning 11th Street through 18th Street contain high levels of enterococcus. Chatham County Health Department spokeswoman Sally Silbermann says that is a fecal bacteria typically found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals.

Officials say the bacteria can enter the human body through an open wound, by ingesting it, or through contact with the eyes, nose, or ears.

The beach isn't closed, but authorities are urging people not to swim or wade in the water.

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