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State of Oregon: Avoid contact with water at Sunset Bay State Park Beach

Sunset Bay State Park by Debbie Tegtmeier via BURST.com/KVAL

COOS BAY, Ore. - Water tests found higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria at Sunset Bay State Park Beach, the Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday.

The agency issued a recreational use health advisory for the Coos County beach.

"People should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted. This applies especially to children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria," the state said in a statement. "Water samples indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses."

The bacteria can come from both shore and inland sources, like "stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems, and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife," according to the state.

"While this advisory is in effect at Sunset Bay State Park Beach, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean," according to the state. "Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm."

Other beach activities, like flying kites and playing in the sand, are OK. State officials said the warning applies only to contact with the water.

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