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 Oswald West State Park beach in Tillamook County.

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 at Cannon beach and Oswald West State Park beach, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean, scientists say. Even if there is no advisory in effect, it is recommended to avoid swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.

Although they discourage water contact, state officials say they continue to encourage other recreational activities on these beaches because they pose no health risk even during an advisory. Neighboring beaches are not affected by this advisory.

Water quality is monitored at select beaches along Oregon's coast by the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program. The program is funded by a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

More detailed test results are available at (www.healthoregon.org/beach)

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