Mississippi claims water safe for swimming despite health advisories
BAY ST. LOUIS - Mississippi's Department of Health Services says water levels along the coast are safe for swimming, one day after monitoring high bacterial levels near Gulfport.
Many states between Florida and Texas, including coastal Louisiana, have issued health advisories for high levels of bacteria.
On Wednesday, Baton Rouge resident Dick Empson was admitted to the hopital with necrotizing fascitis, a quick spreading, often deadly infection. Experts say the infection is rare, with about 96 diagnoses each year, but almost half of those cases become fatal.
Empson's family says he went into the water at a Bay St. Louis beach with an open cut, leaving him exposed to the bacteria. Empson's family says he had to have his leg amputated hours after being admitted.
Tonight, Empson's family says they are holding onto hope that he will recover after being treated at Mississippi hospital.
Experts say people with weakened immune systems, liver damage, and open wounds should avoid warm coastal waters during high temperatures.
Many people on the beach Thursday said, despite hearing about Empson's story, they were not too concerned over the health advisories.
"We came out her," one beachgoer said, "did the best we could, and had fun."