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Stay out of the ocean when it rains, SLO County health department warns

A surfer rides a wave north of Morro Rock during the first storm of the season in 2002. The county recommends people stay out of the ocean during storm conditions that wash pathogens into the water.
A surfer rides a wave north of Morro Rock during the first storm of the season in 2002. The county recommends people stay out of the ocean during storm conditions that wash pathogens into the water. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Surfers and other wave dwellers should avoid contact with ocean water during, and at least three days following, significant rainstorm events, according to an advisory by the San Luis Obispo County public health department.

Rainstorm runoff from the watershed and cities can transport high levels of disease-causing organisms, like bacteria, viruses and protozoa. They can cause skin problems, or problems to the respiratory and intestinal system. The risk is especially high in ocean areas close to creeks, rivers, storm drains and other outlets.

People with compromised immune systems, as well as young children and elderly adults, are particularly vulnerable to these waterborne pathogens, the county says.

Ocean water samples are collected every week at 19 places along the coast. The results can be found at www.surfsafeslo.org or by calling 805-788-3411.

Lots of wind and rough waters, but not too much rain, at the Cayucos Pier on Friday, April 7, 2017.

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