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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Below is an example of a Red Tide sign that is posted at Sarasota Beaches.

Image of Red Tide Sign


Bacteria

Main Administrative Office

Below is an example of a "No Swim" Advisory sign that is posted at various Sarasota County Beaches.

Example of a Red Tide Sign


Enteric Bacteria 

Enteric bacteria water test results

(Note: Results for enterococcus are given in “CFU”, or “colony forming units” and a number of 71 or greater is considered “poor”.)


Location

Date
Enterococci,
CFU/mL
Swim
Advisory
Longboat Key​ 04/16/2018 4 No
Bird Key Park 04/16/2018 60 No
North Lido Beach 04/16/2018 48 No
​Lido Beach (Casino) 04/16/2018 20 No
South Lido Park 04/16/2018 20 No
Siesta Key 04/16/2018 20 No
Turtle Beach 04/16/2018 12 No
Nokomis Beach 04/16/2018 8 ​No
North Jetty 04/16/2018 36 ​No
Venice Beach 04/16/2018 32 No
Service Club Park 04/16/2018 n/a No
Venice Fishing Pier 04/16/2018 40 No
Brohard Beach 04/16/2018 44 No
Caspersen Beach 04/16/2018 24 No
Manasota Beach 04/16/2018 24 No
Blind Pass 04/16/2018 20 No

Enterococcus (CFU per 100 ml)
Good Moderate Poor
0-35 36-70 71 or greater


Enterococcus (CFU per 100 ml)
Good Moderate Poor
0-35 36-70 71 or greater


Water samples are tested for elevated levels of ‘indicator’ bacteria. These are known as enterococcus or enteric bacteria, some of which are naturally present in the environment. These bacteria are known to inhabit the intestines of humans and warm-blooded animals.

Enteric bacteria can come from a variety of sources, including stormwater runoff, pet waste and wildlife and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills.

Health Risks

When these enteric bacteria are detected in high concentrations in recreational waters, there is a risk of illness and infections. Some people who swallow water while swimming or have contact with water entering the skin through a cut or sore may become ill with gastrointestinal illnesses, infections or rashes.  

Vibrio vulnificus

Vibrio vulnificus is another type of bacteria. It is naturally occurring. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) does not sample for this bacteria because it is commonly found in warm, brackish and sea water and in shellfish, especially during the summer months.

DOH is constantly monitoring reportable diseases and has appropriate ways to alert the public if needed.

News reports have incorrectly characterized Vibrio vulnificus as a flesh-eating bacteria. It is important to know that there is no such medical term or marine organism.

Infection by Vibrio vulnificus is a rare but serious disease. It is caused by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters or by exposing cuts and wounds to brackish and salt water where the bacteria exists.

The breakdown of the skin known as necrotizing fasciitis is very rare and is most commonly associated with Group A Strep infections, not Vibrio vulnificus.

Millions of people visit Suncoast beaches each year. If you are healthy, have a strong immune system, and practice good hygiene and proper wound care, your chances of getting necrotizing fasciitis is extremely low.

You can download informational articles provided by DOH about vibrio here:

DOH Fact Sheet[PDF 116KB]

Tips for a Healthy and Fun Day at the Beach[PDF 161KB]

For additional information, please visit the CDC website shown below.

Additional Information about Vibrio vulnificus: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/vibriov.html