Officials with the Florida Department of Public Health announced a no-swim advisory due to a higher-than-normal presence of "fecal indicator bacteria" in six beaches across two popular stretches of the Florida panhandle.
The Department of Health in Okaloosa County released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying, "DOH-Okaloosa has issued health advisories at specific beaches due to elevated sample levels of a bacteria called enterococci".
Enterococci, the name for the group of bacteria used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. If they are present in high concentrations in recreational waters and are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause human disease, infections or rashes.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) recommended standard for enterococci of no more than 104 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of marine water.
The advisories will stay in place until the level of bacteria drops enough for swimmers to return to the waters.