Deadly Superbug Discovered in Rio Summer Olympics Waters

By R. Siva Kumar - 21 Dec '14 13:19PM

If you are going to share the waters of the upcoming Rio Summer Olympics with some super sailors, then be prepared to face some bacteria that are super resistant to drugs. They usually live in hospitals, and are tough to defeat.

These super bacteria have been discovered by doctors from the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, which is an international main public health research institution in Rio de Janeiro, according to This bug produces enzymes that make it fight every treatment.

First discovered in three out of five water samples that were collected in the Carioca River, this is the spot where the 2016 sailing and wind surfing venues are situated along the river, before it flows into the city's Guanabara Bay.

The micro-organisms lead to some illnesses, which are also caused by common bacteria. However, they require strong antibiotics and would even take you to the hospital, according to the study's coordinator, Ana Paula D'Alincourt Carvalho Assef. They can be detected "after the river passes through areas with homes and hospitals."

Almost 70 percent of the sewage in Rio, which has a population of 10 million, is untreated and flows into rivers and the Guanabara Bay. One of the beaches in which the super bacteria was discovered include Flamengo beach, which is among the Guanabara Bay beaches that are not considered fit to swim.

These are bacteria with the KPC enzyme, which are tough to treat. Still, there are no instances of infection from the polluted water---yet, according to DailyMail.

As the super bacteria do not respond to many modern drugs, doctors tend to switch to drugs which are not used as they "toxic to the organism [of a human being]," she adds.

Anyone who gets infected by the bug and the bacteria might become ill or carry the infection, according to the scientists. They might carry the bacteria to their own environments and others, beginning a "cycle of dissemination."

An earlier member of Canada's Olympic sailing team, Ben Remocker, who represents sailors in two disciplines, said the findings are "serious." The sailors need to take caution and are "probably going to cross their fingers they aren't going to get sick."

However, the organizers of Rio Olympics, which will start in August 2016 have not commented so far on the findings.

The super bacteria have developed resistance to the drugs because of mass "demand" in antibiotics. The World Health Organization issued a report in 2014 which agreed that resistance to drugs "is now a major threat to public health."

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