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Zika Threat Prompts Health Experts to Urge WHO to Move Rio 2016 Games

JUN 03, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR

WHO Responds

In response to the open letter, WHO released a statement in which it was noted that neither canceling nor changing the location of the Games will “significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.” However, pregnant women were advised against traveling to areas with active Zika transmission, including Rio de Janeiro, the site of the 2016 Games.

Currently, WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) are “providing public health advice to the Government of Brazil on the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, on ways to further mitigate the risk of athletes and visitors contracting Zika virus during the Games.” One of the main focal points in preparation for the Games is the reduction of vector prevalence in Rio. WHO will continually “monitor the situation and update [their] advice as necessary.”

The fate of the games remains to be seen; however, all signs seem to indicate the “show will go on.” With the opening ceremonies two months away, health officials will be on high alert, tracking the virus and its impact across the globe.
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