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Zika Virus: Don’t come to Rio 2016 pregnant, Brazilian govt warns

Jaques Wagner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff, says it must be explained to athletes and spectators coming to Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games that there is “zero risk” from the Zika virus if they are not a pregnant woman.

Wagner was quoted by Reuters after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the virus constitutes a public health emergency.

Cases of the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, have been rising in the country and the rest of the Americas ahead of Rio 2016.

Pregnant women have been advised not to travel to impacted areas due to a link between the virus and microcephaly – a condition which can lead to babies being born with small heads and under-developed brains.

Other symptoms include fevers, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

“We have to explain to those coming to Brazil, the athletes, that there is zero risk if you are not a pregnant woman,” said Wagner.

Despite the WHO’s declaration, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach remains confident athletes will feel safe travelling to Brazil for the Games.

“We welcome this decision by the World Health Organization because it helps raise even more awareness and to provide even more resources to fight the virus,” Bach told reporters at the University of California after meeting with members of Los Angeles’ Bid Committee for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

“We are in close contact with the WHO and we see also that so far there is no travel ban being pronounced by the WHO.

“We also see that the Olympic Games will be taking place in the winter time which is not the preferred breeding time for the mosquitoes.”

Last week, Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Castro announced that 200,000 soldiers would be deployed to go house-to-house as part of a mosquito control campaign, and that insect repellent will be handed out to at least 400,000 pregnant women.

The Health Ministry says about 25 per cent of the country’s 49 million homes have so far been inspected.

Rousseff said at a recent regional summit in Ecuador that Brazil would place “extreme emphasis” on wiping out mosquito breeding grounds, especially stagnant waters, and has authorised health and sanitary inspectors to use force if necessary to gain access to private buildings.


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Posted by on Feb 2 2016. Filed under Africa & World Politics, Headlines, Soccer, Sports, Track & Field. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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