Friday, 8 July 2016
Superbug Found In Rio Waters Ahead Of Olympics
According to lead researcher Renata Picao, the "super bacteria" entered the city's waterways when sewage coming from local hospitals got channeled into the bay.
"We have been looking for 'super bacteria' in coastal waters during a one-year period in five beaches," Picao told our sources during a visit to her lab. "We found that the threats occur in coastal waters in a variety of concentrations and that they are strongly associated with pollution."
The samples were collected between 2013 and 2014. The superbug found was carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE.
Picao said there is no reason to believe the levels have changed because raw sewage continues to flow into many waterways. She said the next step is to test the impact these bacteria can have when humans come in contact with them in coastal waters.
The news comes as Rio prepares to host hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists during next month's Summer Olympics.
Among the beaches flagged were Flamengo and Botafogo, which border the bay where Olympic sailors are scheduled to compete.
"It's a nice sailing area but every time you get some water in your face, it feels like there's some alien enemy entering your face," German Paralympic sailor Heiko Kroger said during a recent visit to Rio. "I keep my nose and my lips closed."
Kroger believes the super bacteria may have caused a severe skin infection in one of his teammates during recent training.
"This bacteria colonizes the intestine and it goes along with feces to the hospital sewage," Picao said. "We believe that hospital sewage goes into municipal sewage and gets to the Guanabara Bay or to other rivers and finally gets to the beach."
"I wouldn't say to change the venues because we don't know the risks yet," Picao said. "We are making this alert because if athletes get infected there is a chance this bacteria is multiresistant and the physicians should know about this."