A group of Brazilian scientists have detected a drug-resistant bacteria growing off the shores of some of Rio de Janeiro's most stunning beaches, one month before they're due to host the 2016 Olympic Games, reports CNN.
According to lead researcher Renata Picao, the "super bacteria" entered the city's waterways when sewage coming from local hospitals got channeled into the bay.
"We have been looking for 'super bacteria' in coastal waters during a one year period in five beaches," Picao told CNN, during a visit to her lab. "We found that the threats occur in coastal waters in a variety of concentrations and that they are strongly associated with pollution."
The news comes as Rio prepares to host hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists during next month's 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Among the beaches flagged were Flamengo and Botafogo, which border the bay where Olympic sailors are scheduled to compete.
"It's a nice sailing area but every time you get some water in your face, it feels like there's some alien enemy entering your face," German Paralympic sailor Heiko Kroger said during a recent visit to Rio. "I keep my nose and my lips closed."
Kroger believes the super bacteria may have caused a severe skin infection in one of his teammates during recent training.
According to Rio's water utility, Cedae, the criteria established by the World Health Organization have been followed.
"Fifty one percent of the city's sewage is now treated," production director Edes de Oliveira told CNN. "Seven years ago it was only 11%."
The other beaches that tested positive for the bacteria were Leblon and Ipanema, which are very popular among tourists and locals alike.
The Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to begin on August 5, but with a month to go safety and financial issues continue to plague the international event.
An Australian athlete was mugged close to her hotel, a local hospital designated for tourists was the scene of a fierce gun battle and fears over the Zika virus have led several elite athletes to pull out.