Larson Newspapers reports that Slide Rock State Park officials cleared visitors from the waters of Oak Creek during the Fourth of July weekend due to high readings of E. coli 0157:H7.
E. coli is a bacteria that can cause severe intestinal illness. Infection can occur from consuming contaminated foods or liquids, or by swimming in sewage-contaminated water, and an infected human can also pass the disease if hygiene or handwashing is inadequate.
It is not unusual for E. coli levels to rise in Oak Creek and other water in the area this time of year. Possible sources of contamination include wild and domestic animals waste. In addition, residences and businesses along the creek may have contributed, since the majority of septic tanks for summer homes between the confluence of West Fork Creek and Sedona are within 60 meters of the Oak Creek Channel.