Could the Zika Virus Bring Down the Summer Olympics?
The Olympics are still on, but U.S. athletes are being asked to use their judgment in attending
Some high-profile athletes are publicly mulling the decision, among them, soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, who said in an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this week, "If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn’t go."
Female athletes could in theory face higher risks if they happen to catch the Zika virus and then become pregnant. (It's also possible for men with Zika to infect their pregnant partners.)
According to the Washington Post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that two America women who contracted Zika while abroad had miscarriages back in the United States. The placentas were found to harbor the Zika virus.
The CDC is advising pregnant women to consider postponing travel to areas where Zika is being actively transmitted. It advises women trying to become pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant to “consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.”
According to the Associated Press, an International Olympic Committee statement issued in late January read in part: "We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro."
Brazil is working to eradicate as many mosquitos as possibly by spraying insecticide and eliminate standing water (where mosquitos breed). But several news outlets quote the ministry of health as saying the battle was being badly lost.
Travelers who do visit countries where Zika is being actively transmitted should wear insect repellent that contains DEET, consider treating clothing and gear with permethrin, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants and sleeping in screened or air-conditioned rooms.
This article was updated February 11, 2016.
Like this article? Share it with friends by clicking the Facebook or Twitter button below. And don't forget to visit our Facebook page!