Elevated level of bacteria reported at West Maui beach

The state Department of Health warned beachgoers at Honokowai Beach on Friday that the amount of enterococci bacteria, found in the intestines of humans and animals, slightly exceeds normal standards.

Routine beach testing indicated potentially harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or parasites, may be present in the water and could make people ill, the Clean Water Branch said.

Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely to develop illnesses or infections after coming into contact with polluted water, usually while swimming. Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses can be unpleasant, the Clean Water Branch says the illnesses usually are not very serious, require little or no treatment, get better quickly with treatment and have no long-term effects.

The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by sewage is gastroenteritis. It can have one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache or fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections.

Water testing showed enterococci levels at 137 per 100 milliliters; the threshold is 130 per 100 milliliters, the Clean Water Branch said. The advisory will remain in effect until water samples no longer exceed the threshold.

For more information, see emdweb.doh.hawaii.gov/cwb/wqd/viewer/ and www.epa.gov/beaches/learn-human-health-beach.