Cases of vibrio vulnificus bacterial infections have recently been reported in New Jersey and Maryland, but none to date this year has been reported in Delaware. Due to recent concerns about vibrio and with the approaching holiday beach weekend, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is clarifying that that beach swimming advisories issued by the Department’s Recreational Water Program for Delaware beaches have been due to elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria and not related to Vibrio bacteria.

DNREC tests the water for fecal indicator bacteria found in the gut of warm-blooded animals, with the bacteria originating primarily from wildlife including large shorebird populations along Delaware’s bay beaches. After heavy rainfall and rough surf, enterococcus can be washed into the nearshore waters. A recent swimming advisory for North Indian River Inlet was lifted today by the Recreational Water Program because water quality has improved and, again, was not related to the vibrio bacteria that occurs naturally and is always present in the environment.

DNREC’s recreational water advisories are not meant to cause alarm, but rather to give the best information to the public to decide whether or not they want to recreate in bodies of water for which the advisories are issued.