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Florida Dept. of Health warns swimmers after bacteria found off Bonita Beach

Posted at 9:04 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 22:08:50-04

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health is asking swimmers to stay dry after finding traces of bacteria in the water off of Bonita Beach.

The Department has signs placed along the beach, warning about high levels of the bacteria that can lead to gastroenteritis illness with symptoms like diarrhea and stomach pain.

The enterococcus bacteria found on the beach is often found in the intestinal track of both humans and animals.

“It kind of made me nervous seeing that sign after swimming all day," says Reagan Wallwine, who was visiting the beach from out of state.

"It's a little bit of a concern because I’ve got my son out in the water with his girlfriend. It caught me by surprise," adds Roger Lloyd, from Gainesville.

The problem is that not everyone saw the sign as they walked onto the beach, and now some say they probably would have thought twice before diving in if they knew about the bacteria.

“It’s one of those things where you look at it and say, ‘I should have paid closer attention as we were approaching the beach,' which I didn’t do," says Lloyd.

“Where we’re at, there’s no signs anywhere that tell us about the bacteria. So, we were surprised when we saw it here," comments Wallwine, adding that she wished there were more signs up the beach where she was staying.

“If people rent their vacation homes, they’re going to swim in the water regardless. But I think there should be more warnings, just in case people want to make that decision for themselves," she adds.

The FDOH says that the health advisory will stay in place until bacteria levels are back below acceptable levels.

New test results for Bonita Beach Park will be made available next Tuesday, July 26.