In just one year, athletes across the world will be heading off to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics , where beautiful beaches, tropical weather and poop-infested water awaits.
An Associated Press investigation has found dangerously high levels of bacteria and viruses being pumped into the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake and Copacabana Beach, where over a thousand swimmers and boaters are expected to compete next summer. Experts warn that the water is “so contaminated with human feces that [athletes] risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games”, some of whom have already experienced fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
"What you have there is basically raw sewage," said John Griffith, a marine biologist who examined tests for AP’s investigation.
"It's all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it's going out into the beach waters. Those kinds of things would be shut down immediately if found here," Griffith, who works Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, said, referring to the U.S.
The tests done found the water to be unsafe by global experts’ standards, exposing beach-goers to not only “explosive diarrhea and vomiting” but also more serious brain and heart diseases. AP data estimated that swimmers who ingest just three teaspoons of the contaminated water have a 99 percent chance of infection.
Despite the alarming AP findings, the International Olympic Committee and Brazilian authorities will just be testing for bacteria — not viruses
“We've had reassurances from the World Health Organization and others that there is no significant risk to athlete health," Dr. Richard Budgett, the medical director for the International Olympic Committee told the AP.
Some tests of disease-causing viruses measured up to 1.7 million times higher than what would be considered hazardous in Southern California.
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