COLUMBIA, S.C. — A section of beach along South Carolina's coast has been placed under a short-term swimming advisory, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). 

DHEC says bacteria levels for water at the public access point at 17th Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach are above state and federal standards, and swimming is not advised in the area until bacteria levels return to normal.

The advisory is not a beach closing, nor does this advisory affect the entire beach. However, people entering the water in this area should not swallow it, and people with open wounds or compromised immune systems should avoid avoid contact with the water.

Officials say it is safe, however, to wade, collect shells and fish within this swimming advisory area. 

DHEC says it tests water quality along the oceanfront for enterococci bacteria, which are naturally found in warm-blooded animals, including humans. However, high levels of enterococci bacteria in water indicates the potential risk for other organisms that may cause disease in humans, such as gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

Short-term swimming advisories typically last just a few days and are lifted once follow-up water sampling shows bacteria levels have returned to normal.

DHEC routinely collects water samples at more than 120 locations along South Carolina's beaches to monitor bacteria levels.