KAILUA-KONA — The state Department of Health Clean Water Branch (CWB) has issued a water quality advisory for Kahaluu Beach Park on Hawaii Island.
The CWB detected levels of enterococci as high as 324 per 100 mL at the Kona area beach during routine beach monitoring, according to a release from the department.
An advisory for this beach has been posted because testing for enterococci indicates that potentially harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or parasites may be present in the water, the release stated. Swimming at beaches with elevated pollutant levels can result in illness.
Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely populations to develop illnesses or infections after coming into contact with polluted water.
Most illnesses developed after contact with polluted water don’t end up very serious. Most require little or no treatment, or improve rapidly upon treatment. They have no long-term health effects, according to DOH.
The release listed the most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by fecal pathogens as gastroenteritis. It occurs in a variety of forms that 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. In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases, the release stated.
Not all illnesses from a day at the beach are from swimming. Food poisoning from improperly refrigerated picnic lunches may also result in some of the same symptoms as swimming-related illnesses, including stomachache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the release warned.
Notification has been posted at the beach. The DOH advisory will remain in effect until water sample results no longer exceed the threshold level of 130 enterococci per 100 mL.
More information can be found at http://eha-cloud.doh.hawaii.gov/cwb/#!/viewer?eventId=902 or at https://www.epa.gov/beaches/learn-human-health-beach.