Two Ocean County beaches are under advisories after testing for high levels of bacteria likely because of recent heavy rains.

The DEP tests 215 ocean, bay and fresh water beaches at least once a week. The maximum level is 104 colonies of Enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of sample. A beach is closed after two consecutive days of tests that exceed the limit.

Central Beach in Point Pleasant Beach, an ocean front beach tested slightly higher at 110 and while Hancock Beach in Seaside Heights, a bay front beach also known as Sunset Beach, tested well above at 580. Both beaches were scheduled to be tested again on Tuesday.

Bacteria levels tend to spike in some locations because of a build-up of waste from geese, seagulls, and other animals following heavy rains. Over two inches of rain fell along the Shore on Thursday night and early Friday morning from Tropical Storm Elsa.

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Hancock Beach also spiked after the Memorial Day weekend during which rain fell for three days.

Swimming water that exceeds the acceptable level of bacteria could cause gastrointestinal and respiratory issues for swimmers.

Swimming in or contact with the water, according to DEP, can result in any one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny nose/sneezing
  • Skin rash and itching
  • Ear and eye irritation
  • Fever and chills

Most of the time, these symptoms are minor, DEP said. But they can occasionally be more serious, especially in children and the elderly.

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