In the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites, an analysis of water quality in venues has revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage. These results have caused alarm amongst international experts – some competitors who are preparing in the area have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diahorrea.
Brazilian officials have given assurances that water quality will be safe for Olympic athletes, and the IOCs’ medical director said all was on track for providing safe competing venues. But neither the government nor the IOC tests for viruses, relying on bacteria testing only.
Extreme water pollution is common in Brazil – the majority of sewage is not treated. Raw waste runs through open-air ditches to the streams and rivers that feed the Olympic water sites.
This ensures that Olympic athletes are almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses. Some of the Rio tests measured up to 1.7 million times the level of a hazardous level for a Southern California beach.