High levels of bacteria detected at Brazoria County beaches

BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas -- If you're headed to the beach this Father's Day weekend, be aware of the fact that some elevated levels of bacteria have been detected in beach water along the coastline in Brazoria County.

A federal program that tests hundreds of recreational swimming sites in the United States, known locally as Texas Beach Watch, tests for a bacterial indicator called Enterococcus, commonly found in fecal matter. The bacteria is common in rain runoff and levels often spike after periods of heavy rain.

The Texas General Land Office provides the information to the public at TexasBeachWatch.com.

The levels currently reading as 'high' are located primarily along the Freeport Harbor, with some elevated readings along the Matagorda Peninsula.

When an advisory is issued, the affected beach is not closed. An advisory is issued to inform the public of the elevated bacteria level so people can make an informed choice about swimming in the affected waters.

People with diabetes, liver disease, cancer or other immune-suppressing conditions who swim in natural bodies of water with open cuts or sores are at an increased risk for infection. Healthy people are much less likely to get an infection than the ill.

Swimming in natural bodies of water anywhere comes with risk. To reduce it, beachgoers with open cuts or sores, especially those with pre-existing conditions, should avoid swimming or check with their doctor first.

People who suffer cuts while in natural bodies of water anywhere should immediately leave the water, thoroughly clean the wound and do not return until the wound heals. It's important to keep an eye on the area for infection or swelling. If either occur, medical attention should be obtained immediately.

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