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Rio Olympics athletes and visitors face virus-infested waters

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The sand at popular beaches is also a cause for concern

As if the Rio Olympics didn’t have enough headaches already—barely finished facilities and Zika fears, anyone?—you can keep filthy water and shores on the list. In July 2015, an extensive investigation by the Associated Press found dangerous levels of viruses, bacteria, and well, raw human sewage in the waterways of Rio de Janeiro. Now, a year later and just days before the 2016 Games are set to begin, Rio’s waters are still far from pristine and experts are warning the hundreds of thousands of expected tourists to keep their heads out of the water.

For athletes, the most hazardous spots are the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, site of the Olympic rowing competition, and the Gloria Marina, where sailing races will kick off. According to the AP, adenovirus readings at the Lagoon decreased from 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter in March 2015 to 248 million adenoviruses per liter this June—a marked improvement for sure, but still troubling when compared to readings in California, which are in the thousands per liter. And over at the Marina, the reading actually increased from 26 million adenoviruses per liter in March 2015 to over 37 million adenoviruses per liter in June.

Athletes have already embraced precautions like taking antibiotics and putting on plastic suits and gloves, so tourists should also beware of the conditions. In addition to the waters, experts also warn of the virus-infested sand at popular beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, which could be particularly dangerous for babies and toddlers. Do check out the full report here.

Looking for Rio sights out of the water? We have some ideas.