Several beaches, stretching from Fort Walton Beach to Rosemary Beach, were closed after health officials found toxic fecal bacteria in the water, news station WSB-TV reported.
Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns says toxic fecal bacteria is being reported right now at Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Miramar Beach, Seaside and Rosemary Beach.
The advisory extends to six beaches in Okaloosa County and two in Walton County, where a no swim advisory is in effect.
The beaches in Okaloosa are Garniers Park, Poquito Park, Rocky Bayou State Park, East Pass, Clement E. Taylor Park, Henderson Beach. The beaches in Walton County are County Park (Miramar) Beach and Blue Mountain Beach.
The Department of Health in Okaloosa County released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying, “DOH-Okaloosa has issued health advisories at specific beaches due to elevated sample levels of a bacteria called enterococci. Enterococci is bacteria that normally inhabits the intestinal tract of humans and animals. It may cause human disease, infections, or rashes, but for the vast majority of people, the risk of serious illness is minimal. An otherwise healthy person may have no problems with contact with the water of a beach that is under advisory. Some may experience a minor inflammation of a cut, a mild sore throat or mild diarrhea after exposure to water from a beach under a health advisory. The greatest risk is for very young children, the elderly and people who have compromised immune systems since their ability to fight off infection is limited by age or disease.”
Enterococci is not a flesh-eating bacteria.
Glenn says it is unsafe to swim in the waters with any open wounds.