The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has closed four beaches in Connecticut on Tuesday after discovering heightened levels of bacteria in the waters.

The DEEP said the four beaches affected by the temporary closure are Indian Well in Shelton, Silver Sands in Milford, Kettletown in Southbury and Sherwood Island in Westport.

Officials from the agency collected new water samples from the beaches for further analysis. The results will be available on Wednesday.

According to Dennis Schain, the spokesperson for the DEEP, once the bacteria levels in the water has decreased enough where it is safe for beachgoers to swim in again, the beaches will be reopened to the public.

Bacteria in Seawater

Earlier this week, health officials in Florida issued an advisory about the presence of flesh-eating bacteria in the water of local beaches.

Mara Burger, spokesperson for Florida health department, warned the beachgoers about a rare and deadly microorganism known as Vibrio vulnificus in the water. She said that the bacteria can be contracted either by eating contaminated raw shellfish or swimming in infected waters.

Burger explained that the Vibrio vulnificus can enter the body of unsuspecting victims through open wounds, causing severe infections.

People who contract the infection through eating contaminated food typically experience vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis. The infection can also cause septicemia once it reaches the bloodstream of the victim.

The bacterial infection has already infected seven people and claimed the lives of two people in the state this year.

In July 2014, there were 32 cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections reported in Florida.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 85 percent of infections occur between the months of May and October.

To avoid contracting the bacteria, health officials urge beachgoers not to enter the water if they have fresh wounds such scrapes and cuts.

People with a weak immune system should take necessary precautions such as wearing foot protections to prevent them from getting cut by sharp rocks and seashells on the beach.

Experts also advise people to thoroughly cook shellfish, such as mussels, clams and oysters, before eating them. They should avoid consuming raw shellfish.

Photo: Kenneth Casper | Flickr 

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