How Michigan is creating safer beaches this summer

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The state is using new technology to test for E. coli at beaches across Michigan faster this summer.

The new system used by the Michigan Department Of Environment, Great Lakes, And Energy allows for same-day results to quickly determine whether or not beaches are safe for swimming.

In the past, health departments across Michigan have used a culture-based method for E. coli testing at Michigan public beaches that can take 24 hours to get results.

The new method called “Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) technology” is being deployed around the state and can produce results in as little as three hours.

E. coli are a type of bacteria normally found in nature, but its presence can be an indication of fecal contamination.

Swimming in water with high levels of E. coli can make people sick with symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Rapid testing with qPCR technology is currently being used at 100 beaches.

The state plans to expand to more beaches with a new lab in Port Austin, Michigan.

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