Swimming advisory lifted at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

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Swimmers can dive back into the Virginia Beach Oceanfront worry free after a short swimming advisory was lifted Thursday.

Officials issued the advisory on Wednesday after an abnormally high level of bacteria was found in water between Eighth and 22nd streets, said Virginia Beach Department of Public Health Director Heidi Kulberg.

Lab results showed bacteria levels were back down to an acceptable level on Thursday, Kulberg said.

The advisory came as the result of tests conducted on Virginia Beach’s recreational waters every Tuesday from May until September.

The tests look for organisms, called enterococci, that are used to gauge fecal contamination in the water, Kulberg said.

(Photo by Hillary Smith/Southside Daily)

(Photo by Hillary Smith/Southside Daily)

Although enterococci don’t cause sickness, their presence is linked to other disease-causing organisms, which can increase the chance for swimmers to develop gastrointestinal illnesses and skin, eye and respiratory infections, according to a VBDPH news release.

“It’s kind of like the canary in the coalmine,” Kulberg said. “It serves to say ‘Wow, if (enterococci) are in the water at high levels other things may be in the water at high levels.’”

Most Virginia Beach swimming advisories resolve within a day thanks to an offshore storm-water drainage system and a vast ocean that dilutes bacteria quickly, Kulberg said.

“In our beach area we don’t run into as much trouble as many areas do,” Kulberg said.

For more information, call the  VBDPH at 757-518-2646.

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