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The Latest Serious Health Risk To Affect The Rio Olympics

Photo: Getty Images.
With a little under a month to go before the Olympic Games begin in Rio, Brazilian scientists have discovered a drug-resistant super bacteria on some of the city’s beaches, according to new research.

The bacteria came from local hospital sewage, which made its way into the bay and entered Rio’s waterways, CNN reported the lead researcher Renata Picao as saying.

"We have been looking for 'super bacteria' in coastal waters during a one-year period in five beaches,” Picao told CNN. “We found that the threats occur in coastal waters in a variety of concentrations and that they are strongly associated with pollution."

The scientists haven’t yet researched the impact on humans coming into contact with these particular bacteria in coastal waters, but drug resistant bacteria as a whole are responsible for 700,000 deaths each year, according to The Economist.

With the Games due to start on the 5th of August, this latest discovery is yet another serious health risk for locals, organisers, and several hundred thousand participants and tourists to worry about alongside the Zika virus outbreak.

Two beaches highlighted as being affected by the super bacteria were Flamengo and Botafogo, which border the bay where Olympic sailors are due to compete.

A German Paralympic sailor, Heiko Kroger, said the super bacteria may have caused one of his teammates to break out in a “severe skin infection” during recent training in the bay, CNN reported.

Kroger said he keeps his nose and mouth shut because when the water gets in your face, “it feels like there's some alien enemy entering your face”.

Several athletes have already pulled out of the Games over fears about the Zika virus, most recently several top golfers; and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill has expressed concerns, saying: "I have to make sure I understand what’s happening and what the risks are. It’s something I have to be on top of," The Telegraph reported.