DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Local health officials issued a swimming advisory for parts of Dare County for high bacteria levels in the water.

The swimming advisory was issued Thursday at an ocean-side site in Dare County. Officials say bacteria levels in the water exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.

The advisory is for an area at the public beach access at ramp #55 off Museum Drive in Hatteras.

Recent test results of water samples indicate a running monthly average of 47 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water which exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period.

Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies show that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms.

People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Hatteras area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign.

For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program or to a view a map of testing sites, CLICK HERE.