A drug-resistant superbug has been found in Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca River, which flows into the bay where the sailing events will be held during the 2016 Olympics.
Scientists at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation discovered the super-bacteria in water samples collected at three points along the river.
According to researchers, the bacteria can cause urinary tract and gastrointestinal infections as well as pneumonia.
Ana Paula D’Alincourt, a researcher at the institute, said the diseases caused by these microorganisms were not more severe than those caused by bacteria in other polluted rivers. The problem is that they are more resistant to modern drugs and may require the patient to be hospitalized.
Athletes and health officials have raised concerns about pollution in the Guanabara Bay before. Untreated sewage and trash is often dumped into the Atlantic waters, drawing criticism that the bay is not a good site for Olympic events. Thirty-three tons of waste were removed from the bay in the first three months in 2014 as part of a major cleanup effort.
“We found a lot of plastic bottles and bags. Yesterday we saw a dead dog in the water. If the Olympics were tomorrow, we would really have a problem,” Mat Belcher, a 2012 gold medalist, told the Brazilian paper Folha de São Paulo in August.
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