Pollution concerns at the Rio 2016 sailing venue in Guanabara Bay have been revived following the discovery of a drug-resistant "super-bacteria" capable of causing a number of different infections.
Researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Institut found traces of the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) in samples taken from Flamengo Beach, close to the Marina de Gloria on Guanabara Bay in which action is due to take place in less than two years time.
The bacteria, usually found in hospital waste, can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections, with treatment often requiring hospitalisation, it has been reported.
"We were alerted to a possible presence of KPC type bacteria in some parts of the Carioca River in September," a statement said.
"We talked to experts from Government and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and since then have monitored the issue - Rio 2016 created a task force regarding this matter.
"The group will continue to monitor the matter very closely and discuss with the Government and with specialists the solutions to prevent contamination of the water and continue to guarantee the safety of athletes.
"This issue does not impose any change in our planning for the test events and competition events."
State Government officials responsible for maintaining safety have sought to play down fears somewhat, claiming the bacteria is not very resistant in the environment, especially in salt water where it is very weak, and that risk exists only for people who have weakened immune systems
Yet this is a further worry nonetheless after months of concerns over pollution levels on the Bay, which has provoked criticism from sailors and officials alike, despite cleaning up the entire Bay being a major legacy commitment when Rio was bidding for the Games.
In June, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes admitted the original aim to reduce pollution levels by 80 per cent on the Bay would not now be met.
"I am sorry that we didn't use the Games to get Guanabara Bay completely clean, but that wasn't for the Olympic Games - that was for us," he said.
"That was something that we could not accomplish that was in the Bid Book."
Rio State Environment Secretary Carlos Francisco Portinho also admitted, in a letter to Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, it will take over a decade to significantly reduce pollution levels.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
December 2014: Olympic sailors mugged at knifepoint in Rio de Janeiro
August 2014: Dead dogs, cars and a "nasty stench" but first Rio 2016 test event considered success
July 2014: Rio 2016 inviting sailors to test pollution levels as Guanabara Bay course criticised again
June 2014: Rio Mayor admits water pollution targets in Guanabara Bay will not be met in time for Olympics
May 2014: ISAF considering independent testing to study pollution levels ahead of Rio 2016 test event