With the Olympics just around the corner, a drug-resistant "super bacteria" -- carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae -- has been found by a group of Brazilian scientists who claim the bacteria has entered some of Rio de Janeiro's beaches after coastal sewage leaked from local hospitals and got channelled into Guanabara Bay.
"We have been looking for 'super bacteria' in coastal waters during a one-year period in five beaches. We found that the threats occur in coastal waters in a variety of concentrations and that they are strongly associated with pollution." Renata Picao, lead researcher was quoted saying to CNN.
According to her, poor sanitation has caused the spread of the bacteria. It has spread in areas that are scheduled to have high tourist footfall due to Olympic events such as sailing, being held in close proximity. Beaches such Flamengo, Botafogo, Leblon and Ipanema are the areas associated with the spread of the bacteria.
Despite the already prevailing panic over the Zika virus, Piaco believes this new finding does not warrant a change of venue as they are yet to study the impact of the bacteria after it comes in contact with humans.
"I wouldn't say to change the venues because we don't know the risks yet," said Picao.
Despite promising to clean up the polluted waterways in Rio after winning the bid to host the Olympics in 2009, Brazil has failed to do so.
However authorities claim to have done their part. "Fifty-one percent of the city's sewage is now treated. Seven years ago it was only 11 percent," according to sources. A new sewage plant that opened in May in the western part of the city will serve about 430,000 residents, production director Edes de Oliveira was quoted saying to CNN.