IOC Increasing Water Tests In Rio After Alarming Levels Of Sewage Reported

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The International Olympic Committee said Sunday it will order testing for disease-causing viruses in the sewage-polluted waters where athletes will compete in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

Before, the IOC and local Olympic organizers in Rio said they would only test for bacteria in the water, as Brazil and virtually all nations only mandate such testing to determine the safety of recreational waters.

But after an Associated Press investigation published last week revealed high counts of viruses directly linked to human sewage in the Olympic waters, the IOC reversed course after being advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) that it should expand its testing.

“The WHO is saying they are recommending viral testing,” IOC medical director Dr. Richard Budgett told the AP. “We’ve always said we will follow the expert advice, so we will now be asking the appropriate authorities in Rio to follow the expert advice which is for viral testing. We have to follow the best expert advice.”

On Saturday, the International Sailing Federation became the first to break with the IOC’s insistence on bacteria-only testing, saying it would do its own independent tests for viruses.

“We’re going to find someone who can do the testing for us that can safely cover what we need to know from a virus perspective as well as the bacteria perspective,” said Peter Sowrey, chief executive of the ISAF. “That’s my plan.”

That came after the WHO told the AP on Saturday that it had advised the IOC to test for viruses.

A five-month AP analysis of water at each of the venues where about 1,400 Olympic athletes will have contact with water showed dangerously high levels of viruses from sewage.

The AP commissioned four rounds of testing in each of those three Olympic water venues, and also in the surf —> Read More

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Not If These Equine Innovators Can Help It

Four years ago, Phil Yarbrough’s horse Mercedes broke her leg and ripped apart her knee while running in her pasture outside Atlanta.

“She went over a hill, and she did not come back up,” Yarbrough said.

Conventional wisdom suggests that horses with broken legs can’t be saved. Hundreds of racehorses with injured limbs are euthanized each year. In June, a horse named Helwan was euthanized after he broke a bone on the same track where, hours later, American Pharoah won the Triple Crown

But Yarbrough wasn’t willing to consider this fate for his horse.

“She’s like a kid to me,” he said.

Veterinarians at the University of Georgia operated on Mercedes’ leg. Yarbrough remembers that the doctors gave the Arabian horse a 30 percent chance of recovery before the operation to put titanium plates in her shattered appendage. A little way into the nine-hour procedure, the surgeon came out to say that the odds might be even lower.

Yarbrough was asked if he wanted to euthanize Mercedes. He recalls being worried that keeping her alive might be “selfish.” Still, he opted to go on with the surgery.

For the next year, Mercedes was in and out of the hospital, recovering from the surgery and then dealing with hard-to-treat infections and a couple of bouts with a serious inflammatory disease called laminitis.

Yarbrough and his wife Christine came to visit, bringing their horse bags of clover.

Before Mercedes’ release, Yarbrough was concerned that her leg hadn’t yet completely healed and that it would be prone to another injury unless she was essentially confined to a stall for the rest of her life.

Yarbrough wasn’t willing to consider confinement. So he went looking for another option. That’s how he met Ronnie Graves.

Graves, who runs VIP Veterinary Inclusive Prosthetics and Orthotics in Florida, is among a growing —> Read More

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