Olympic Swimmers ‘Certain’ To Pick Up Virus From Three Teaspoons of Rio Water

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Independent: The Associated Press has released a 16-month-long study that shows just days before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro begin, the waterways in the city are teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria. The report says both athletes and tourists are at risk of getting ill from the contaminated water. “The first results of the study published over a year ago showed viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe,” reports The Independent. “At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and, more rarely, heart and brain inflammation — although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual’s immune system.” Many of the athletes have been taking antibiotics, bleaching oars and donning plastic suits and gloves to prevent illnesses, but antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. The AP investigation found that infectious adenovirus readings turned up at nearly 90 percent of the test sites over 16 months of testing. What’s more is that “the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad — and sometimes even exceed Rio state’s lax water safety standards,” reports The Independent.

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