High bacteria levels at five San Luis Obispo County beaches

Tuesday’s heavy rains caused unhealthy bacteria levels at five beaches in the county.

Environmental health officials have posted advisories at three beaches in Cayucos and one advisory each in Morro Bay and San Simeon warning beach-goers to avoid contact with ocean water. Weekly testing showed bacterial levels that exceeded state health standards.

High bacteria levels are a common phenomenon following a storm because rains wash disease-carrying organisms from the land into creeks and eventually the ocean.

County public health officials say that people should avoid bodily contact with the ocean for at least three days following a storm. High bacteria levels can cause respiratory and skin infections.