A toxic and potentially dangerous "super bacteria", which is difficult to treat, has been discovered in the waters where Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Sailing events are to be held in 2016.
According to Brazil's health research institute, the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, water samples taken from various spots along the Carioca River showed a kind of bacteria that produce an enzyme, which makes them resistant to normal forms of treatment.
One important spot where the difficult-to-treat super-bacteria was found is said to be where the river flows in the city's Guanabara Bay – the site where the 2016 sailing and wind surfing events will take place.
The institute has now formally warned that there is a possible danger to swimmers although they have not found any instance of infection as of now. The bacteria with the so-called KPC enzyme is very difficult to treat, say scientists.
""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," the study's coordinator, Ana Paula D'Alincourt Carvalho Assef, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "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."
Nearly 70 percent of sewage in Rio, which has a population of about 10 million people, is spilled raw into the waters of Gunabara Bay, reports say. The Flamengo beach is often regarded as unfit for swimming, but many people ignore the warnings issued by officials. Residents have now been instructed to take extra care.
Among many other problems associated with the superbug, the most important effects are thought to be urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.
"There is the risk of contracting diseases, which are not more serious that those caused by other micro-organisms," said Assef, according to Reuters.
"The problem is that in case of infection it is possible that treatment involves hospitalisation."