Olympics organizers: No risk of Zika infection in Rio

Organisers of the upcoming summer Olympic Games said Tuesday that they see no health risks posed by the Zika virus.

Rio will be a "very safe" venue for the Games, Joao Grangeiro, head of the Olympic health services, said at a press conference.

The relatively cool and dry weather conditions combined with the preventive measures taken against Zika transmission have diminished the danger of infection to both Olympic athletes and visitors to the Games.

The number of infections in Rio from the Aedes aegypti mosquito dropped abruptly in March, Grangeiro said. Rio has the nation's lowest level of infection in the current Zika outbreak, Daniel Soranz, Rio's health secretary, said.

The head of World Health Organisation (WHO) Margaret Chan said Friday that, "given the current level of international concern," the risks of going forth with the summer Games in August should be examined.

Last month 151 leading scientists sent and open letter to the WHO calling for the Games to be postponed or moved.

The WHO declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern in February. Zika only causes harmless flu symptoms in adults, but it causes microcephaly in babies whose mothers are infected with the virus while they are pregnant.

In March, WHO said that Latin America could be faced with thousands of cases of microcephaly, a condition in which the brain does not properly develop and a baby's head is significantly smaller than normal. The outbreak has hit Brazil hardest.

Last update: Wed, 08/06/2016 - 10:06
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