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April 1, 2005


Contacts: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738, DHS
Robert Smith, (503) 986-0665, cell (503) 551-3528, Oregon Parks & Recreation

Technical contacts: Cindy Gaines, (503) 731-4012, DHS
Greg Pettit, (503) 229-5349, DEQ


Health advisory issued for water contact at Sunset Bay beach

 A public health advisory has been issued because of higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Sunset Bay beach in Coos County.


Water tests indicate higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria, which can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Direct contact with the water should be avoided until the advisory is lifted, especially for children and the elderly, who may be more vulnerable to waterborne bacteria.


While this advisory is in effect at Sunset Bay beach, visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoffs flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect it is recommended to avoid swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.


Although they discourage water contact, state officials say they continue to encourage other recreational activities on this beach because they pose no health risk even during an advisory. Neighboring beaches are not affected by this advisory.


Water quality is monitored at selected beaches along Oregon’s coast by the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program. The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. More detailed test results are available at on the DHS beach advisory Web site.