GULFPORT, Miss. – If you want plan on taking a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, make sure you know what you are getting into. Make sure you adhere to warning flags and signs before getting out into the water. On the Mississippi coast there are about 20 different stations that monitor bacteria levels in the water. The levels are monitored by the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory with the University of Southern Mississippi and contracted by the Mississippi Department Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
Robbie Wilbur with MDEQ bacteria can be caused by storm water runoffs, wildlife, and bacteria in the sediment that gets stirred up by wind and rain.
When bacteria levels are high it can potentially cause ear, eye, skin, and respiratory infections. It is also possible to contract diseases such as meningitis and hepatitis.