Letters to the Editor

On dirty water at the beaches, we need more than just facts | Letter to the editor

Why do they close beaches in Florida?

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection frequently monitor water quality, and routinely collect algal bloom samples. When toxicity levels present a risk to human health, the state will issue advisories and may also post warning signs.
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection frequently monitor water quality, and routinely collect algal bloom samples. When toxicity levels present a risk to human health, the state will issue advisories and may also post warning signs.

“How healthy is the water you’re going to swim in? Florida beaches post warnings.” The headlines are factual. However, the presentation of information creates anxiety with readers because the facts motivating each are not provided.

For example, According to the CDC, Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. Vibriosis causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths, per year.

Most people get vibriosis from eating raw and undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. The symptoms are watery diarrhea and cramping. In rare cases, Vibrio can enter a body through an open wound — including a cut or a scrape — after contact with brackish water, which is found in bays, near where rivers meet the ocean.



People with compromised immune systems, especially those with chronic liver disease are more likely to get vibriosis. According to the CDC, Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. Vibriosis causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths, per year.



Most people get vibriosis from eating raw and undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. The symptoms are watery diarrhea and cramping. In rare cases, Vibrio can enter a body through an open wound including a cut or a scrape.



People with compromised immune systems, especially those with chronic liver disease are more likely to get vibriosis. The CDC says to reduce the chance of getting vibriosis, avoid contact with salt water or brackish water, or cover the wound with a waterproof bandage, and shower after swimming.



Please help readers understand the context, not just factual reporting.

Andre Gachter

Bradenton

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