4 Los Angeles County beaches remain under high bacteria warning
As temperatures on Friday soared to the mid-70s, the L.A. County Department of Health Services ordered the publics of six beaches – La Jolla, Point San Pedro, Manhattan Beach, Huntington Harbor, Hermosa Beach, and Huntington State Beach – to stay out of the water.
“The health risk is high due to a bacterial infection called amoeba – or amoeba-like organisms – which can cause severe nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue and sometimes even death,” a statement by the department said. “If you think you may have symptoms of amoeba, avoid contact with water and call a doctor.”
Bacteria and viruses such as chigoea, giardia, cryptosporidium, and giardia lamblia – along with more deadly protozoa – can all cause nasty conditions. And for those who can’t leave the beach, public health officials said there are safe swimming distances.
“There are certain things that you can do to stay away from the beach in the area,” said Dr. Julie Holland, the deputy director of the Health Department. “And then you can go to certain places that are under different level of recommendations about what you should and shouldn’t do.”
Public health officials are saying the public needs to avoid contact with the water because these pathogens may live in the water, too — and sometimes for days or weeks at a time.
“These organisms are not visible to the naked eye – you might see them if you dive into the water and take a swab,” Holland said.
Henderson said he didn’t get sick after spending a half-hour in the water with two friends just a few days earlier. He swam in the surf, but didn’t think much about it until he saw his boss the next morning, which she said he told her about.
“He said, ‘That’s really sick,’” Henderson recalled. “I don’t know what to say.”