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NEWPORT — Health officials have issued a public health advisory because of higher-than-normal bacteria levels found off three Oregon coast beaches near Newport.

Oregon Health Authority officials said Wednesday that people should avoid contact with the water at Beverly Beach State Park and Agate Beach and Seal Rock state recreation sites until the advisory is lifted.

People should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water and any water runoff flowing into the ocean.

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Officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours of any rainstorm because of possible stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, failing septic systems and animal waste from livestock, pets and wildlife.

Health officials say high fecal bacteria levels can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, rashes and upper respiratory infections, among other illnesses. Children and elderly people may be more vulnerable.

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