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DOH-Sarasota collects weekly water samples from 16 different Sarasota area beach sites as part of the Florida Healthy Beaches program. The goals of the
Florida Healthy Beaches monitoring program are:
  • To identify sources of beach water pollution
  • To prevent waterborne illness by advising residents and visitors against recreating in waters potentially contaminated with disease-causing organisms
  • To educate the public regarding beach water quality issues 

To view the most recent beach water test results, click here.

To view a FAQ sheet for the beach program, click here.

Sarasota County Beach Sampling Sites Include:


Ringling Causeway Beach
Longboat Key Access
North Lido Beach
Lido Casino Beach
South Lido Beach
Siesta Key Beach
Turtle Beach
Nokomis Beach
North Jetty Beach
Venice Beach
Service Club Beach
Venice Fishing Pier
Brohard Beach
Caspersen Beach
Manasota Key Beach
Blind Pass Beach


 
 
 

 Enteric Bacteria

 

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

Tips for a Healthy and Fun Day at the Beach

 

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

 

 

 Bacteria FAQs

 
  
Answer
How can Vibrio vulnificus infection be diagnosed?

Vibrio vulnificus infection is diagnosed by stool, wound, or blood cultures. Since specialized laboratory tests are needed, you should tell your health care provider if you experience stomach illness, fever or shock after eating raw seafood, especially oysters, or if you have a wound infection after exposure to seawater. ​

How is Vibrio vulnificus infection treated?

If Vibrio vulnificus is suspected, treatment should be initiated immediately because antibiotics improve survival. Aggressive attention should be given to the wound site; for patients with wound infections, amputation of the infected limb is sometimes necessary.  ​

What are some tips for preventing Vibrio vulnificus infections?
  • Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish.
  • Cook shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly.
  • For shellfish in the shell, either
    • a) boil until the shells open and continue boiling for 5 more minutes, or
    • b) steam until the shells open and then continue cooking for 9 more minutes.
    • Do not eat those shellfish that do not open during cooking.
    • Boil shucked oysters at least 3 minutes, or fry them in oil at least 10 minutes at 375°F.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of cooked seafood and other foods with raw seafood and juices from raw seafood.
  • Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
  • Aviod exposure of open wounds or broken skin to warm salt or brackish water, or to raw shellfish harvested from such waters.
  • Wear protective clothing (e.g. gloves) when handling raw shellfish. ​
Sarasota Office:
Office of Environmental Health Services
1001 Sarasota Center Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34240
941-861-6133
Map
Venice Office:
Office of Environmental Health Services
4000 S. Tamiami Trail S., Room 121
Venice, FL 34293
941-861-3310
Map
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is intended to provide general public health guidance and is not a substitute for seeking medical advice from a health care provider. Water quality reports on this site are based on weekly water samples and represent the most up-to-date information available to local public health officials.