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Stay Out of the Water at Picnic Island, Health Officials Warn

Waters off of Picnic Island may contain bacteria that pose a health risk to bathers, a recent sample showed.

The Hillsborough County Health Department issued a warning Wednesday after they found an unsafe concentration of enterococci bacteria in the water, officials said.

If infected by the bacteria, people can suffer numerous conditions, including urinary tract infections, inner-abdominal infections, presence of bacteria in the blood and even meningitis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure also could lead to skin rashes and other infections, county health officials said. ...

Bathers have been asked to stay out of the water until health officials determine the bacteria level has decreased to a safe range. The Environmental Protection Agency's threshold for acceptable enterococci contamination is 104 colony-forming units per 100 millimeters of marine water.

Officials will re-sample the water Monday.

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