The Olympics Become Infected

The logo for the 2016 Brazil Olympics


The logo for the 2016 Brazil Olympics


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Move over Ebola, the Zika virus is taking over headlines everywhere, and causing yet another global panic. It currently poses a danger to pregnant women and could endanger the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. The biggest concern is that the athletes and spectators who travel to Brazil to watch the games could be infected with the Zika virus. The ruckus of the summer games is starting to become overshadowed by the threat of this disease, but what is it and why is it ruining a tradition as old as ancient Greece?

The Zika virus originated in Africa and has been common in Africa and Asia. This mild disease found its way into Brazil last May, and started to become more common. Transmitted mainly by the Aedes species of mosquitoes, the symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. In the past these minor symptoms have caused it to be ignored until recently when new potential side effects were discovered. It is believed that when pregnant women are infected, the virus can cause microcephaly, a condition in babies that causes abnormally small heads and in most cases, incomplete brain development. There have also been some cases of temporary paralysis that have been linked to the Zika virus.

This disease has now spread north from Brazil reaching America, and causing the World Health Organization to declare it an international public health emergency. According to Vox, last year there were over 1.5 million cases of Zika in Brazil with 3,5000 reported cases of microcephaly.

Ever since the influx of news about this virus started to circulate, doubts about the safety of the 2016 Summer Olympics have been brought up. Brazil has tried to reassure the world that it will be a safe venue for the games.

“At the moment we have a new problem and are facing this with the help of the government and the authorities. Our priority is the health of the athletes, the health of all Brazilians and protection for all those who work at the Olympics,” spokesman Mário Andrada told The Guardian. “We are sure this battle can be won and will not affect the Games.”

Although Brazil believes that the Olympic will not be influenced by the Zika virus, they have also advised all the athletes and visitors to lather up on mosquito repellent and avoid mosquitos if possible. In the meantime, public health officials have been working to clear out the breeding grounds around the event to insure safety. They have said that by the time the Games begin, the weather will be cool enough where mosquitos won’t be as big of an issue. While many people still fear that the 2016 Summer Olympics will be overrun with disease and not worth the risk, the official Brazil Olympics spokesperson, Mario Andrada told USA Today that they have

“not received a single request to return tickets.”

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