Hawaii health department posts water advisory at Maui beach

WAILUKU, Hawaii — The Hawaii Department of Health posted a water advisory at a Maui beach that tested above a bacteria safety threshold, officials said.

The health department found the water quality off Wailea Beach exceeded acceptable levels of enterococci, The Maui News reported Thursday.

Enterococci levels at the southern Maui beach were 384 per 100 milliliters (3.4 fluid ounces) of water, while the safety threshold is 130 per 100 milliliters, the department said

The levels recorded by the department’s Clean Water Branch during routine monitoring could signal the presence of harmful microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites, officials said.

The advisory will remain posted until water samples fall below the threshold, officials said.

Children, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of developing illnesses or infections after contact with polluted water, officials said.

Swimming at beaches with water pollution may result in sickness, although swimming-related illnesses usually are not serious, require little or no treatment and have no long-term effects, the health department said.

The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by fecal pathogens is gastroenteritis, which may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, stomachache, and diarrhea, the department said.

Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose, and throat infections, officials said.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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