A new round of testing by the Associated Press has determined that the water in Rio de Janeiro, set to host next summer’s Olympic Games, are as filled with with pathogens offshore as they are in shallow water.
No dilution factor has been found in the bodies of water where events will take place, and athletes are no less at risk to the health disease by competing farther from the shore.
“Those virus levels are widespread. It’s not just along the shoreline but it’s elsewhere in the water, therefore it’s going to increase the exposure of the people who come into contact with those waters,” waterborne virus expert Kristina Mena told the AP. “We’re talking about an extreme environment, where the pollution is so high that exposure is imminent and the chance of infection very likely.”
A July study by the AP showed high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues. Some competitors who have trained in Rio have already gotten sick from swimming in the waters.
The follow-up concluded that viruses found more than a kilometer from the Guanabara Bay shores, where sailing events will be held, were no different than the levels found closer to the beaches and sewage sources.
Olympic and World Health Organization officials have often changed their stance on carrying out viral testing.
The World Rowing Federation participated in a junior championship in July and 6.7% of 567 rowers fell ill after the competition.
- Christopher Chavez