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Swimming advisory issued for oceanside site in Nags Head

An advisory against swimming was posted Tuesday, May 1, at an ocean-side site in Nags Head.
State recreational water quality officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
The advisory is for an area at the public beach 200 yards northwest of mile marker 12.5 in Nags Head. This would be on the ocean about opposite Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the soundside.
Test results of water samples taken at the site indicate a running monthly average of 36 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. This exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period.
This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Nags Head area. Swimming advisories affect water within 200 feet of the sign. The sign posted reads as follows:
ATTENTION
SWIMMING IN THIS AREA IS NOT RECOMMENDED. BACTERIA TESTING INDICATES LEVELS OF CONTAMINATION THAT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS WATERS WITHIN 200’ OF THIS SIGN.
OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR
State officials will continue testing the site, and they will remove the sign and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.
Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies indicate that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

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