Swimmers at Shannon Beach, MA in Winchester are coming down with shigellosis, forcing the Department of Conservation and Recreation to close the popular area formerly known as Sandy Beach.

Renamed last year for Sen. Charles E. Shannon, the former policeman and state senator who represented the area until his death at age 61, was closed at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21st.  It will remain closed until further notice.

"In the interest of public health and safety, we closed the Shannon Beach facility immediately upon learning of the apparent bacterial contamination," DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan, Jr. told WCVB-TV in Boston.

He said a number of people experiencing Shigella reported visiting Shannon Beach within the last three weeks.

"(The) Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages anyone who may have visited Shannon Beach and Playground facilities and who has any of these symptoms, particularly unresolved diarrheal illness, to contact their health care provider," said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach.  "The best prevention is washing hands with soap, particularly after using the toilet or changing diapers.  Soap kills bacteria."

In addition to diarrhea, symptoms include fever, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting.