12 Louisiana beaches have been placed under a health advisory as the water at these sites contain high amounts of bacteria. The state Department of Health takes water samples from 24 beaches to determine the levels of the enterococci bacteria. Dr. Fred Lopez with the department of infectious diseases at LSU Health New Orleans says warm water allows this bacteria to thrive.
“Swimming in those waters could result in infections of the respiratory tract, skin wound infections, diarrheal illnesses.”
The enterococci bacteria is found in sewage and the human intestine. Lopez advises swimmers that if you do decide to get into the water, you’re swimming at your own risk.
“You really wouldn’t want to swallow any of that beach water, you certainly wouldn’t want to go in that type of water if you have open wounds and cuts because they could become infected.”
Lopez says people with weak immune systems are more susceptible to contracting infections by the bacteria found in the water.
“Those individuals who are immunocompromised by liver disease, by kidney disease, by cancer, they really should avoid exposure to those bacteria so they can minimize their risk.”