Olympics and the Zika Risks

The 2016 Olympics started August 5th and are highly unlikely to spread Zika worldwide, federal officials said, noting that the 500,000 people expected to travel to Brazil for the August games account for less than 1% of all international travel to Zika-affected areas.
Visitors to Brazil will have a relatively low risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness because the Olympics will take place during winter in the Southern Hemisphere, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Paralympic Games will be held in September, when the weather in Brazil also remains cooler and dryer.Mosquito Isolated on White 2
Only 19 of the more than 200 countries whose citizens are expected to visit Brazil for the Olympics are vulnerable to Zika outbreaks related to travel to the games, according to the CDC. That’s because those countries don’t yet have Zika outbreaks, but have climates and mosquito populations that could allow the virus to spread. But because most of those countries already have so much travel to Zika-affected regions, the slight increase in travel to Brazil for the Olympics won’t dramatically affect their risk.
Only four countries — Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea and Yemen — have a major risk of Olympics-related Zika outbreaks, according to the CDC. That’s because the Olympics will represent the only major travel from those countries to a Zika-infected area. The four nations are expected to send a total of 19 athletes to Rio, who will be accompanied by delegations of 60 additional people.
More than 200 health experts have called for the Olympic games to be canceled because of the risk of Zika spreading worldwide. Brazilian health officials estimate that up to 1.5 million people in that country have been infected with the virus, which can cause devastating birth defects in babies infected while in the womb.
The World Health Organization concluded the Olympics doesn’t pose a major risk of spreading Zika.

Original Article posted by USA Today, July 14, 2016.
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