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article image'Super-bug' found in Rio de Janeiro's Olympic waters

By Karen Graham     Dec 16, 2014 in Health
Rio De Janeiro - The quality of the water in Rio's Guanabara Bay is a continuing embarrassment, With promises by Brazil to clean up the sewage-filled waters and little to nothing being done, the problem has gotten worse. Researchers have found a "super-bug" in the waters.
Researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a research institute in Rio de Janeiro, found a new "superbug," a drug-resistant bacteria, in the waters where Olympic sailing events will take place in 2016. Officials from the institute said on Monday the bacteria is normally found in hospitals and can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.
They found the bacteria in three separate water samples taken from three different areas along the Rio Carioca. The small river is one of many that run into Guanabara Bay. Paula D'Alincourt Carvalho Assef, coordinated the study published on the Oswaldo Cruz's website. She said the bacteria is similar to other known strains, but is resistant to the usual antibiotics.
"There is the risk of contracting diseases, which are not more serious than those caused by other micro-organisms," Assef said, adding, "The problem is that in case of infection it is possible that treatment involves hospitalisation. Carriers can take these resistant bacteria back to their own environments and to other people, resulting in a cycle of dissemination."
In an email to the Associated Press, the institute said the bacteria produce an enzyme, called the KPC enzyme that make it resistant to most forms of treatment. The institute says there have been no infections from the infected water detected, but did warn of the danger to swimmers.
Organizers of the 2016 Summer Olympics had promised to slash the amount of raw sewage running into Guanabara Bay by 80 percent by the time the Olympics started. But the waters are absolutely terrible, with at least 70 percent of the sewage and garbage in the city of 12 million people flowing untreated into the rivers, onto beaches and into the bay.
On December 2, the Fresno Bee reported the Brazilian Tourism Ministry had to remove a photo montage of pictures of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janiero from its Instagram feed. The feed described the sparkling, clear waters as a tropical paradise. Gloria Marina, the main dock on the Guanabara Bay, was described as a "pristine, undeveloped cove of sheer rocks, with a limpid waterfall and sailboats anchored in clear turquoise waters."
A story in Rio's O Globo newspaper said the photo montage was the work of Marcos Calil, an Instagram user who uses heavily-doctored pictures of Rio on his feed. But O Globo said the Tourism Ministry did not give any indication the picture was a fake.
Despite the huge "goof" by the Ministry of Tourism, and they did apologize, authorities are insisting that progress is being made. But that progress won't be enough. In June, Rio's Mayor, Eduardo Paes reportedly said the Brazilian city will not be able to meet the deadline for cleaning up the bay. The BBC reported that Paes admitted the target would not be met, and the pollution posed to harm to the athletes.
More about Brazil, 2016 olympics, Drugresistant bacteria, flamengo beach, Raw sewage
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