Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Tue July 05 2016

Rio de Janeiro Reportedly Faces Drug-Resistant Bacteria Problem

Impacting Travel | Gabe Zaldivar | July 05, 2016

Rio de Janeiro Reportedly Faces Drug-Resistant Bacteria Problem

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Locals and travelers contemplating a trip to Rio de Janeiro received awful news as researchers discovered drug-resistant super bacteria in the area’s waters.

As CNN reports, there is absolutely nothing super about how things are going for a city set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in just a few short weeks.

Issues with the city’s waters, pollution and concerns with Zika have been debated for months.

Now CNN comes forward with a new report that there is a super bug that adds yet another layer of concern for officials hoping to pull off what continues to look more like a miracle scenario in the form of the Summer Games.

CNN spoke with lead researcher Renata Picao who explained the possible cause of the now known bacterium nemesis and its potential harm to the area.

The most troubling aspect at the moment may just be how the drug-resistant bug got introduced to the area, which includes beaches Flamengo, Botafogo, Leblon and Ipanema.

Picao explains: “This bacteria colonizes the intestine and it goes along with feces to the hospital sewage. 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.”

The awful journey seems to take the bacteria from local hospitals to sewage infrastructure where it manages its way out to the sea and back to the beach.

Unfortunately, this also means it can make its way into the eyes, ears and nose of people attempting to enjoy the beautiful scenery that lives ironically amid highly polluted conditions.

CNN also spoke with German Paralympic sailor Heiko Kroger who offered, “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”

And, sadly, that might not be far from the truth.

Picao continues, offering thoughts on how organizers should proceed: “I wouldn't say to change the venues because we don't know the risks yet. We are making this alert because if athletes get infected there is a chance this bacteria is multi-resistant and the physicians should know about this.”

As far as whether Picao would dare set foot on the beaches: “I don't take my children to these beaches. We still need more studies to tell what would be the risk to human health of this exposure through the water.”

As noted, there isn’t a recommendation in place to move the sailing venues. It’s at this time that we’d like to direct your attention to a report that states the waters at Guanabara Bay, the Olympic sailing venue, are so polluted that boats are coming back brown.

The publication quotes Finnish sailor Camilla Cedercreutz who offers a bit more on how things are faring for the sailing contingent: “We've never seen anything like this. It (an encroaching oil slick) was all over the place. There was no way you could avoid it. This is only our second time in Rio. We've heard it was really bad. You get mad because it shouldn't be like this anywhere. It shouldn't be this dirty. But there's nothing we can do about it.”

TravelPulse’s Robin Amster recently offered some safety tips for tourists heading to Rio in the near future, including getting on the government’s STEP program and downloading an app that can help track down local hospitals.

At the moment, officials are proceeding with business as usual despite alarming conditions for locals, tourists and athletes mandated to attempt awesome feats of athleticism amid what is essentially filth.

It may be best to pack some extra Purell.


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