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Stay out of the water at Sunset Bay State Park

Oregon officials are warning people to stay out of the ocean at Sunset Bay State Park in Coos County because of higher-than-normal levels of bacteria there.

The Oregon Health Authority issued a public health advisory today for ocean waters at the state park, located southwest of Charleston.

Water samples there indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses, the OHA said in a news release. Officials say direct contact with the water, especially by children, the elderly and others who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria, should be avoided until the advisory is lifted.

The source of the bacteria could come from both shore and inland sources, such as stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife, the release said.

Visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach and in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.

For the most recent information on advisories, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0400 or 877-290-6767.

Recreating on the beach poses no health risks, and neighboring beaches are not affected by the advisory, officials said.