Physical contact with natural marine pathogens while swimming or eating raw seafood can harm people who are predisposed to liver, blood, stomach, or in other ways immunocompromised.

Eating shellfish contaminated by human fecal pathogens can also cause illness such as gastroenteritis, salmonellosis, and hepatitis A, and, in more severe cases, could cause death for people suffering from certain immune system disorders or who are immune comprised.

To reduce the risk of illness associated with consumption of shellfish contaminated by pathogens, state agencies have been forced to close oyster beds where tests have indicated high fecal coliform levels in the water.

In spite of the development of plans for a parish-wide sewage treatment and regional efforts to prevent direct dumping of sewage at camps, fecal coliform contributes to be a persistent problem.

Probable Causes

  • Publicly owned treatment works
  • Septic tanks
  • Hunting and fishing camps
  • Urban runoff

  • Agricultural runoff
  • Naturally occurring pathogens, particularly in warm water with high salinity
  • Illegal disposal of medical waste

Probable Impact

  • Food poisoning
  • Closure of oyster beds
  • Loss of revenue and employment