Drug-resistant 'super bacteria' found in Rio's Olympic waters

Wednesday December 17th, 2014

Scientists found a drug-resistant “super bacteria” in the waters around Rio de Janeiro where the 2016 Summer Olympic sailing and wind surfing events will be held, reports the Associated Press.

The super-bacteria, which is usually found in hospitals, can be resistant to to antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.

The Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, a Brazilian health research institute, said it has found bacteria that produces the KPC enzyme in water samples taken from three spots along the Carioca River, including  Guanabara Bay where those sailing events will be held. Those who swim in the river are at risk to become infected.

“The illnesses caused by these microorganisms are the same as those caused by common bacteria, but they require stronger antibiotics and, sometimes, can require hospitalization,”  Ana Paula D'Alincourt Carvalho Assef, the study's coordinator said to the AP. “Since the super bacteria are resistant to the most modern medications, doctors need to rely on drugs that are rarely used because they are toxic to the organism.”

In the city's Olympic bid, Rio officials promised that by the time the games begin, they would get rid of 80 percent of the sewage that flows into the bay every day. Still, more than 70 percent of the city’s sewage goes untreated, leading to concerns for Olympic competitors and spectators.

- Scooby Axson

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