If the current news reports were to go by, the reports the spread of Zica virus in Latin American nations have increased the concerns about Rio de Janeiro’s suitability as the venue for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Anbritt Stengele is the president of the Chicago-based Sports Company that specializes in managing the sporting events worldwide, which includes the Olympics. As per him, although they have not had any major cancellations as yet, but he could see that the interest level in the event has somewhat plummeted during the past month or so. He attributed this to the adverse publicity by the media regarding the outbreak of Zika.
As Rio is on the verge of making the last minute preparations before giving the finishing touches for hosting the Olympics, scheduled from 5th Aug to the 21st Aug, there is a mounting concern about the rapid increase in the cases of Zica although the scientists all over the world are trying to find some solution. Jaques Wagner, the chief of staff to the Brazilian president, recently advised pregnant women against attending the Games. This was immediately after the World Health Organization declared that the Zika virus may be directly linked to clusters of microcephaly as well as dinner other neurologic disorders in new born babies. It also went on to call it a serious international health emergency. The health officials don’t want to take any chances.
The health advisory by many governments strictly prohibits pregnant women from traveling to the countries having high incidences of Zica affected babies born. The fact that it is also suspected to be transmitted sexually has raised another cause of grave concern.
Almost 30 countries throughout the Caribbean, nations in the Pacific islands and Central as well as South America and Africa have been identified as Zika virus affected zones.
But Brazil has invited much more scrutiny because an exceptionally high number of cases of have been reported from there – almost 3,500 between October 2015 and January 2016.
On its part Brazil too has issued advisory to pregnant women about the risk of traveling during the August Olympics many feel that the efforts are not adequate as there is no serious warning.
But Thomas Bach, the president of the international Olympic committee says there is no reason to press the panic button. As per him, there is no official travel ban as such issues by the WHO. He feels that since the games will be held during winter months there will not be any health related issue as far as Zica virus is concerned as that is not the breeding season for mosquitoes
With the preparing for the Olympics reaching its last stages, with the Rio’s Maracana Stadium 80% to 100% competed, it all depends upon how the Zica virus outbreak is contained in the coming few months. As of now, Zika is clearly playing the spoilt sport during the promotional campaigns for Brazil.