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Posts Tagged ‘virus’

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mosquito-about-to-biteTropical sailing means diseases, and the past decade has seen a grip of new threats facing anyone who spends their life next to the water.  As of last week, there’s a new one.  According to the Science Daily, scientists at the University of Florida have identified a patient in Haiti with a serious mosquito-borne illness that has never before been reported in the Caribbean nation. 

it’s called “Mayaro virus”, and has similar effects of Chikungaya, only worse.  With the world’s attention on stopping the Zika epidemic, “the finding of yet another mosquito-borne virus which may be starting to circulate in the Caribbean is of concern,” said Glenn Morris, director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute. “Hopefully we will not see the same massive epidemics that we saw with chikungunya, dengue and now Zika. However, these findings underscore the fact that there are additional viruses ‘waiting in the wings’ that may pose threats in the future, and for which we need to be watching.”

Watch, and learn here.

September 19th, 2016 by admin

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The Rio countdown continues, and the latest bit of prurient news for those waiting for the action is a gem.  According to The Daily Beast, the IOC has ordered 450,000 condoms for the 10,000+ athletes in the Olympic Villlage for the month and change they’re on the ground. That’s around 40 rubbers per olympian, and evidence that fold medal marksman Mark Russell wasn’t lying when he called the Olympic Village “the most testosterone fuelled place on earth.” The Guardian reported that ‘after Beijing 2008, an Olympic table-tennis player divulged the secrets of the “sex fest” and the “volcanic release of pent-up hedonism” that apparently happens when thousands of athletes at the top of their game come together.”‘  Maybe this is why so many athletes dedicate half their lives to the Olympics?

Gone Viral

ISAF World Sailing is proving just how serious it is about their sailors’ health in Rio; we recently had a peek at an urgent memo from an unnamed ISAF official to all “International Technical Officers” that concluded that “athletes, coaches, and race officials…did not have a significantly increased health risk through water contact…above the normal tourist population visiting Rio.”  And we think they actually expect everyone to believe that.

In other words, sailors with raw, frequently abraded and cut-up bodies, immersed in water proven to be filled with nasty viruses, have no more chance of getting sick than a tourist at a hotel in Copacabana.  Their caveat is that this warm, safe place is only available to those who follow the World Sailing safe list below.  And again, they aren’t joking.  From the memo:

On the water:

Rub hands and forearms with alcohol based disinfectant for 3 minutes, including:
– both hands, then forearms, then both hands again for a total of 30 seconds
-repeat the same 30 second provedure 5 times, each time with new disinfectant
-wait for the hands to dry fully before eating or drinking on board
– rinse your mouth with mouthwast (containing 0.05% chlrohexidine digluconate…) before eating or drinking

On shore after disembarking:

-use the water hose to shower immediately on return from sailing
-your recovery procedure may require to you drink and eat immediately on arrival on land after sailing.  Before you actually do so – wash your hands with liquid soap and water for 60 seconds and dry them with paper towels.

Aaaaand…..you’re good!

Russian Dressing

Our final Olympic news impacts sailing far less than other sports, and it’s not really news at all just yet; the IOC has delayed its decision on whether to ban all of Russia from competing in Rio after WADA investigator Richard McLaren found Russia to be behind a comprehensive program of state-sponsored doping.  If you’ve been hiding in a cave and missed this fascinating story of what may be the biggest program of cheating in the history of sport, it’s worth having a look (start with the Beeb here.)

The IOC also said it will:

  • Not organise or back any sports events or meetings in Russia, including the European Games, scheduled for June 2019;
  • Start disciplinary action against Russian officials named in the report compiled by Dr Richard McLaren;
  • Ban Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko from the Rio Games;
  • Urge McLaren to continue his work and name individual Russian cheats;
  • Encourage individual sports federations to look for any Russian infringements of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code.

 

 

July 19th, 2016 by admin

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There have been precious few counterpoints to the Rio pollution monster, and while the author of the below piece is wrong about quite a few things (namely that our own SA staff spent dozens of hours in-country investigating the situation on both water and land, talking to locals, and speaking with Brazilian scientists), it’s good to see some of that famous Brazilian pride come out. 

Hi there, I am a sailor from Rio. until recently on 49er campaign for the Olympics. just lost the qualifying to Marco Grael (yes, Torben’s son). I see you are a big critic on Rio pollution. Not sure how much of it is to make news and get hits or how much of it is actually of interest to you.

I did notice as well that you have never talked to a single Brazilian regarding this matter. Never contacted a single club in Guanabara Bay, I dare to say you have never even sailed there. You might find some different pov.

Dont get me wrong, I am not trying to state that there is no pollution, or that people should not push for depolution. I just want to raise a point – can sailing be done in Guanabara Bay?

I think it’s histerical to hear that ISAF president says he would resign if he doenst get depolution. What does he know about politics in Rio? Did you know that there are 15 municipalities around the bay? that the biggest water treatment plant in Latin America is right there, but the Mayor of that town refuses to clean the shit of the neigbour town?

Anyway, again off the point, but would just like to overstate how these brits are still thinking collonialy.

Every year, the Opti Nationals are packed with over 100 little kids. Every year Rio has the biggest fleet from all states. So this means that every year, on your opinion, really stupid parents allow their sons and daughters to face death when sailing their optis around the bay, or the lagoon (even worse polution). But aren’t these the same parents who run one of the biggest economies on the planet?

Is there a chance they are not too stupid? that they know, albeit polluted, it is not as harmful as advertised?

I find it really strange that all these little kids manage to sail their way around the plastic bags, find their gusts, round their marks, and those big boys with medals and sponsors, cant even put their boats on the water.

Getting your info from germ free americans, or isaf bureocrats might not be the best source of info.

Through this Olympic Cicle I have hosted 8-10 teams from different countries and classes. Still to find 1 who says this place isnt paradise. Can you picture this with crystal clear water? I think it’s just a way of making it fair with everywhere else.

Cheers from a SA follower
Thomas Low-Beer

 

January 29th, 2016 by admin

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UPDATE: Associated Press reporter Stephen Wade did a little more digging after reading the SA piece below. His update is here.

You won’t see it in any official ISAF or IOC report, but the first major casualty (that we know about, anyway) of the Guanabara Bay pollution epidemic is now in a local hospital.  One of the top light-air RS:X specialists, Korean boardsailor Wonwoo Choo, was rushed to an ambulance yesterday afternoon with high fever, vomiting, chills, and dehydration.  More from “Danny OK”, and please share his post on the IOC and ISAF Facebook pages as many times as you can.  Only the most unrelenting pressure can force change against the tide of corruption, laziness, incompetence, and downright apathy, and only when Rio understands that this scandal may kill off what is left of their dwindling tourism industry will the local government do something about it.  Here’s Danny’s post:

More than 10 years of life-time effort can be destroyed in one day!  This is not an emergency situation, but it’s very disappointing.  He has been sick since last night with a high fever, vomiting and coldness, and he is now fully dehydrated.

It seems he got infected from virus somewhere in the racing site which is supposed to be safe and clean as an Olympic venue.  I hope this wouldn’t happen again not only for us, but for all sailors who compete on the same play ground.

Additionally, I hope IOC and ISAF must consider how the safety issue will be improved for the next year.

We may not able to clear all the issues, but we could minimize the risks.

 

August 19th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 10.41.09 AMFor almost two years we have been railing against the ridiculous state of affairs at Rio’s Olympic sailing venue, but official reactions from ISAF, the IOC and pretty much every other organization with an interest has been to plunge their heads deeply into sand.  We’ve wondered how long they could go on without meaningful action, but a report published today may change all that.

Despite multiple reports that Rio 2016 officials have already failed on the ‘guarantee’ they made on the water quality of the olympic sailing and rowing venues for the 2016 games, local politicians are still disputing the science with bullshit stunts like this one, and credibility challenged statements like last month’s from Rio2016 organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada.  Adrada said that Rio would “guarantee safe competition and we will guarantee the health of the athletes,” although it’s pretty clear that a guarantee from the Rio2016 Committee is worth about as much as a bucketfull of the shit at the water’s edge in Guanabara.  And remember: They’ve already told us there’s no way in hell they’ll change the venue to a safer one…because dustbuster boats.

While the questionable value of Rio2016’s ‘guarantees’ is fairly obvious, quantifiable scientific data on just how nasty the water is was not; most national teams funded their own independent water quality tests, but judging from the official zeal with which those test results were guarded, there was some shit in there that no team wanted the public to see.

Those guarding the results have just learned what happens when you’re a little too good at hiding the truth, because the Associated Press got motivated enough to find the truth to spend a small fortune on it.

AP commissioned four rounds of testing in each of the three Olympic water venues and off Ipanema Beach.  Their summary? “Not one water venue [is] safe for swimming or boating, according to global water experts.”

Multiple national officials over the past year have told us that their investigations were ‘inconclusive’ or ‘showed manageable levels’ or some other crock of shit designed to avoid making waves, so it was surprising to see such unquestionable lab results from the AP tests, which:

found high counts of active and infectious human adenoviruses, which multiply in the intestinal and respiratory tracts of people. These are viruses that are known to cause respiratory and digestive illnesses, including explosive diarrhea and vomiting, but can also lead to more serious heart, brain and other diseases.

The concentrations of the viruses in all tests were roughly equivalent to that seen in raw sewage — even at one of the least-polluted areas tested, the Copacabana Beach, where marathon and triathlon swimming will take place and where many of the expected 350,000 foreign tourists may take a dip.

Perhaps most importantly, the test results viral discoveries call into question all national teams’ strategies of disease prevention.  Basically, you’re going to get sick if you spend any amount of time in the water or catching spray.  From the report:

Kristina Mena, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses, examined the AP data and estimated that international athletes at all water venues would have a 99 percent chance of infection if they ingested just three teaspoons of water — though whether a person will fall ill depends on immunity and other factors…Viruses can enter the body through the mouth, eyes, any orifice, or even a small cut.

The certainty of infection, and the risk of much nastier bugs they didn’t test for, creates a new problem for every official associated with the event; they can no longer claim that death/disease/complications/infection wasn’t foreseeable for their competitors.  And under the laws of quite a few nations, that means they may be liable in court if and when the shit hits the fan.  SA’s Legal Research Department isn’t sure whether this liability could extend to the directors or CEOs of national sailing teams, but if there’s one thing that can motivate action when even concern for the health and safety of competitors can’t, it’s the threat of multimillion dollar lawsuits.

One of the few good eggs at ISAF – Head of Competitions Alastair Fox – made some noise about moving the venue back in April, but was quickly silenced.  Will Alastair or anyone else at ISAF have the balls to do something about it, especially now that they are properly on notice about just how bad it is?

Read the full report here, and send the IOC your thoughts via email.

Thread here.

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