Bacteria levels high off Canoe Beach

Levels of enterococci in the waters off Hanakao’o (Canoe) Beach in Kaanapali triggered a state Department of Health warning Thursday.

Levels of 137 enterococci per 100 milliliters detected during routine beach monitoring exceeded the threshold of 130, the Clean Water Branch reported. The results indicate the presence of potentially harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or parasites.

Swimming at beaches with pollution may make people ill, the Health Department said.

Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are 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, they 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, stomachache, diarrhea, headache and fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections.

The advisory will remain posted until water samples dip below the 130 threshold.