More than 100 health experts have called for the Rio Olympic Games to be postponed or moved because of fears that the event could speed up the spread of the Zika virus around the world, according to a public letter published online.
Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus. Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to-date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice.
Australian athletes at this summer’s Rio Olympics will be supplied with condoms which offer “near complete” protection against the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced. However, the virus has been linked to a birth defect that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads.
Governments have been using various tools to fight the spread of the Zika virus in Latin America: fumigation, spraying of insecticides and even a plan to distribute mosquito repellents to athletes during the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
More than 200,000 troops fanned out across Brazil over the weekend to raise awareness about the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, which has been linked to a surge in birth defects.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro would take place despite the Zika virus, at a time when various athletes have expressed their fears about competing.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff implemented a nationwide mandate this week allowing government health workers to enter private properties to crush Zika breeding grounds. Exterminators now have the right to inspect and disinfect households, even without the presence of its owners.
The World Health Organization (WHO) expects the Zika virus, which is spreading through the Americas, to affect between three million and four million people, a disease expert said on Thursday. WHO's director-general said the spread of the mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.
Some airlines, including those serving the Caribbean, have started offering refunds to passengers who had been booked to fly to countries where cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed. United Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways are allowing passengers to back out of travel.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is new to the Americas. Since Brazil reported the first cases of local transmission of the virus in May 2015, it has spread to 21 countries and territories* of the Americas (as of 23 January 2016).