JASPER — A joint healthy advisory was issued Tuesday warning of potential contamination of the Withlacoochee River in North Florida.
The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison counties issued the advisory after elevated indicators of fecal bacteria in the river and are conducting water sampling with the Department of Environmental Protection.
Until more information is known regarding the possible bacterial contamination of the river, people in the area are urged to take precautions when they come in contact with the Withlacoochee. Water contaminated with elevated fecal bacteria presents several health risks to humans, including gastrointestinal issues and other conditions.
The health department urges people that come into contact with the river to wash thoroughly, especially before eating or drinking. Children and older adults, as well as anyone with weakened immune systems, are especially vulnerable to disease, the DOH release warns, so every precaution should be taken.
For more information about the potential health effects of wastewater overflow, please contact DOH-Hamilton at 386-758-1059 or hamilton.floridahealth.gov or DOH-Madison at 850-973-5000 or madison.floridahealth.gov.