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Epidemiology and impact of travellers’ diarrhoea on participants in the pre-Olympic test event Aquec Rio 2015
  1. Nebojsa Nikolic1,
  2. Robert Steffen2,
  3. Lidija Bilić-Zulle3
  1. 1Medical Centre for Occupational Health Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia
  2. 2Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, WHO Collaborating Centre for Traveller’s Health, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3Clinical Institute for Laboratory Diagnostics, Clinical Hospital Centre, Rijeka and Department of Medical Informatics, Rijeka University School of Medicine, Rijeka, Croatia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nebojsa Nikolic, Medical Centre for Occupational Health Rijeka, Riva Boduli 1, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia; travel-medicina{at}

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Sailing competitions during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro took place in the sewage polluted Guanabara Bay.1 After strong media exposure a year before the Games, World Sailing deployed a medical team to study the impact of the environment on participants, particularly to assess the epidemiology and impact of travellers’ diarrhoea (TD) on athletes participating in the pre-Olympic test event in August 2015.2

In sailing, competitors may come into direct contact with the water. They are occasionally splashed with water and boats may capsize, depending on the wind conditions and the type of boat.3 Sailing techniques can include taking the ropes into the mouth to have the hands free for manoeuvring the boat. Breaks in regattas are used to offer sailors fluid replacement and nutrition which opens the possibility for infection from soiled hands.

A total of 688 persons participated in the Aquec Rio 2015 sailing event and received a questionnaire from the cross-sectional study; 396 questionnaires were included in the study (response rate 57.6%). Classic severe TD is usually defined as at least three unformed bowel movements occurring within a 24-hour period, often accompanied by cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and/or blood in the stools. Moderate TD is defined as one …

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  • Contributors NN participated in literature search, figures, study designdata collection, data analysis, data interpretation, writing, drafting text andfinal approval of manuscript. RS participated in study design, drafting text and final approval of manuscript. LB-Z participated in data analysis, data interpretation, drafting text and final approval of manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.