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article imageStudies find 'superbug' in Rio's sewage-filled Olympic venues

By Karen Graham     Jun 11, 2016 in Sports
Rio De Janeiro - Scientists have found a dangerous drug-resistant bacteria in some of Rio de Janeiro's top beaches and in a lagoon where rowing and canoe events will take place during the Olympic Games.
It was only a matter of time before scientists would find a "superbug" in the sewage-filled waters of Rio de Janeiro. Not one, but two independent studies have revealed drug-resistant bacteria, usually found in a hospital setting have now invaded the city's beaches and ocean waters.
The findings from the two unpublished reports were seen by Reuters and focus on the beaches most popular with tourists and greatly increase the areas already known to be infected with the drug-resistant microbes. The studies have also heightened concerns for the safety of the athletes.
A study published in 2014 showed the presence of the super bacteria off one of the beaches in Guanabara Bay. The microbe was classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an urgent public health threat.
Aerial view of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches in Rio de Janeiro  Brazil  on April 11  2013
Aerial view of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 11, 2013
Christophe Simon, AFP/File
In July 2015, the Associated Press released the results of an independent investigation into the quality of the waters where athletes will be boating and swimming in this year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics. AP found that athletes will be swimming and boating in a literal cesspool contaminated with human feces and occasionally, dead and putrefying fish.
The first study, reviewed in September by scientists at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in San Diego, California, showed the presence of the microbe at five of Rio's beaches, including the Copacabana, where open water and triathlon swimming will take place, reports the Los Angeles Times. The four other beaches where the microbe was found include, Ipanema, Leblon, Botafogo, and Flamengo.
The second study, to be published next month in the Journal of the American Society for Microbiology, was performed by the Brazilian federal government's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation laboratory. Genetic fingerprinting studies found the super bacteria in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in the heart of Rio and in a river that empties into Guanabara Bay.
Rio de Janeiro's promise to clean up it's filthy, cesspool-like waters was one of the reasons they were given the chance to hold the 2016 Olympic Games. But now that August 6 is right around the corner, it is obvious that that part of the promise has not been fulfilled.
AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sew...
AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues.
Wochit News
Additionally, Cedae, the waste-treatment company that carries out sewage treatment and collection in the entire "south zone" of Rio, is under investigation by the federal government for allegedly lying about how much sewage it treats, and worse, for purposely dumping untreated sewage into the waters off Rio.
Regardless of the sewage problem, Zika virus, gang violence or anything else that's going on in Rio de Janeiro, they plan to have their Olympics, come hell or sewage-filled waters.
More about Superbug, 2016 Olympic games, two studies, beaches and river, Raw sewage
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