Researchers reportedly find drug-resistant ‘super bacteria’ in waters of Rio’s Olympic venues

Ipanema beach
Surfers ride strong waves near Ipanema beach on May 25.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Raw sewage flowing into the waters off Rio de Janeiro where Olympic rowers and swimmers will compete this summer has reportedly given rise to a drug-resistant “super bacteria.”

Two unpublished academic studies detail the presence of microbes usually found in hospitals, according to a report by Reuters on Friday.

Some of the city’s top beaches – including Copacabana and Ipanema – have been affected, according to one of the studies, which was reportedly reviewed by scientists at a San Diego conference.


The other study, conducted by a Brazilian lab, found the genes of the super bacteria in a river that empties into Guanabara Bay, where a number of Olympic events will take place.

“These bacteria should not be present in these waters,” Renata Picao, a professor at Rio’s federal university, was quoted as saying. “They should not be present in the sea.”

Brazilian officials had initially pledged to greatly improve the long-standing pollution problem in time for the Games but have since acknowledged they will fall short of their goal.

The Olympics are scheduled to begin Aug. 5.


Follow David Wharton on Twitter: @LATimesWharton