Zika Virus Won’t Stop Rio Olympics

Zika Virus Won’t Stop Rio Olympics

With less than two months until the start of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the games should not be cancelled due to the recent Zika virus outbreak in the region (Mcneil and Tavernise). The WHO does not anticipate any increased consequences from travel to Brazil – the Zika virus is expected to spread to the southern United States regardless (Mcneil). With the recent impeachment of Brazilian President Rousseff, the severe recession, and the large spike in police killings, postponing or moving the 2016 Olympics would only send Brazil into further political and economic turmoil (Waldron).

The Zika virus can be transmitted through mosquitos, sex, blood transfusions, and from mother-to-child during pregnancy, but can be avoided with simple precautionary measures. Only 1 in 4 people present symptoms, which can last for up to a week. Symptoms are mild enough that most people do not require hospitalization, and many never realize that they contracted the virus (Symptoms, Diagnosis,  & Treatment). Though it is still advised that pregnant women should not attend the games due to the heightened risk of fetal microcephaly, other travellers, at risk for mild and short-lived symptoms, can protect themselves from the virus with measures that would be taken for any other mosquito transmitted diseases (Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an Alert for the Summer Olympics (2016 Summer Olympics). They advise travellers to take preventative measures against mosquito bites by using insect repellent, covering exposed skin and staying in air-conditioned or screened rooms (Avoid Bug Bites).

The Zika virus is not the only threat posed to outsiders during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Travellers must also take precautionary measures against crime, foodborne illnesses, and other mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue fever and malaria (2016 Summer Olympics). The CDC recommends seeking medical attention for any health concerns that may arise following the games.

 

References

"2016 Summer Olympics (Rio 2016)." – Alert Level 2. N.p., 2 June 2016.

"Avoid Bug Bites." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 22 Apr. 2016.

Mcneil, Donald G., and Sabrina Tavernise. "W.H.O. Says Olympics Should Go Ahead in Brazil Despite Zika Virus." The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 June 2016.

"Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Apr. 2016.

Waldron, Travis. "Everything Is Going Wrong in Brazil Ahead of the Olympics." Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 23 Mar. 2016.

 

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