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No-swim advisory posted for Bird Key Beach

The Florida Department of Health-Sarasota County has detected unacceptable levels of enterococcus bacteria in water quality testing at the beach off the Ringling Bridge.

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Update: The no-swim advisory has been lifted for Bird Key Beach. Red tide is still detected at all 16 Sarasota County beaches.

A no-swim advisory has been issued for Bird Key Park Beach off the Ringling Bridge. On Monday, the amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing was outside acceptable limits. 

The beach remains open, but wading, swimming and water recreation is not recommended when no-swim advisories advisory in place. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County has reports elevated levels of red tide continue to be detected at all 16 Sarasota County beaches. 

The DOH-Sarasota County has resampled the beach on Thursday and expects those results late Friday. 

“When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill,” said DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham in a release. “People, especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system that swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water contacts a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes.”

Consumption of shellfish such as crabs and shrimp collected in the immediate area of any beach with a no-swim advisory in place is discouraged. Finfish caught live and healthy can be eaten if filleted.

While current red tide cell counts remain at low to medium levels, some people may have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation. Some individuals with existing breathing problems, such as asthma, might experience more severe effects. Symptoms typically abate after leaving the beach or going indoors.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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