Super-Bacteria Found in Olympic Event Waters

Bug could be a danger to Rio 2016 athletes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2014 5:30 AM CST
Super-Bacteria Found in Olympic Event Waters
Small boats are seen on the shore of Guanabara Bay in the suburb of Sao Goncalo, across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.    (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

If fighting off "super-bacteria" was an Olympic sport, Rio de Janeiro could be an ideal place to hold the 2016 Games. Instead, it is looking like a pretty dangerous place to hold sailing and windsurfing events, according to a health institute. Researchers say a super-bug normally found in hospital waste has been detected in Guanabara Bay, where events will be held despite local beaches being considered unfit for swimming. Some 70% of the sewage from the city of 12 million flows untreated into local waters, including the bay, and officials have already admitted they won't meet their goal of cleaning it up before the Olympics, the BBC reports.

Researchers warn that the bacteria could be a danger to anyone who goes in the water. "The illnesses caused by these microorganisms are the same as those caused by common bacteria, but they require stronger antibiotics and, sometimes, can require hospitalization," the lead researcher at Brazil's highly respected Oswaldo Cruz Institute tells the AP. "Since the super bacteria are resistant to the most modern medications, doctors need to rely on drugs that are rarely used because they are toxic to the organism." Earlier this month, Brazil's Tourism Ministry removed a fake photo from its Instagram feed that depicted the bay as a pristine place with turquoise waters. (The real bay has a problem not just with sewage, but with floating corpses.)

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