CANNON BEACH - Public health advisories were issued Wednesday because of higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Cannon Beach in Clatsop County and several beaches in Lincoln County.

Increased pathogen and fecal bacteria levels in ocean waters can come from both shore and inland sources such as storm water runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems and even animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife.

Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Direct contact with the water should be avoided until the advisories are lifted, especially for children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.

While these advisories are in effect, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks 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.

State officials advise that the status of water contact advisories at beaches is subject to change. For the most recent information on advisories, please visit www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/beaches/index.shtml or call 877-290-6767.

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