A 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press found waterways surrounding the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro “are as filthy as ever” and are contaminated with raw human sewage.
The AP writes an estimated 1,400 athletes who are competing in events in these waterways run the risk of serious illness.
Tourists and visitors to the games who take in Brazil’s beaches also run the risk of illness as viruses were not only found in the water but in the sand as well.
Sailing, rowing and open-water swimming events will use these waterways in competition and athletes have spent the past year trying to figure out ways to avoid contact with the water.
Whether that’s feasible or not, that’s a good idea.
After being told the findings of AP’s study, Dr. Valerie Harwood -- the Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at USF in Tampa – had this advice: ''Don't put your head under water.''
The initial AP water study released last summer showed viral levels “at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe.”
The AP findings also show that at those levels, “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.”