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Tourists Safe During Olympics 2016 Despite Zika Virus Scare, Says Rio Officials

Travelers Today       By    Joseph Peter Capaque

Updated: Jun 07, 2016 11:47 PM EDT

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rio de janeiro, brazil, olympics, Olympic Games, 2016 Olympics, Zika, Zika Virus
Brazil Continues Battle Against Zika Virus Ahead Of Olympic Games
RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 02: Dr. Stella Guerra performs physical therapy on an infant born with microcephaly at Altino Ventura Foundation on June 2, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. Microcephaly is a birth defect linked to the Zika virus where infants are born with abnormally small heads. The Brazilian city of Recife and surrounding Pernambuco state remain the epicenter of the Zika virus outbreak, which has now spread to many countries in the Americas. A group of health experts recently called for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be postponed or cancelled due to the Zika threat but the WHO (World Health Organization) rejected the proposal.
(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro officials assure the public that Zika won't be a big problem during Olympics 2016 in August.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes-Zika carriers-are less active in cooler and drier months, health officials claim. It would be winter in Brazil from August to September. The games will happen in August.

The event's chief medical officer João Grangeiro, said in a media conference that they have conducted test events in key locations around Brazil. There was no reported Zika contamination out of the 8,000 volunteers, 7,000 athletes, and 2,000 staff members who participated.

Scientists have reported that Zika does not have direct symptoms on its victims.

Researchers have backed up Rio officials' claim. According to studies, it is safe for the estimated 500,000 athletes and tourists to visit Brazil, the said epicenter of the epidemic.

Reuters reports a study in Sao Paulo predicts only 15 Zika cases from foreign tourists. Another study by Brazilian scientists from University of Sao Paulo predicts only 16 cases.

However, a group of American epidemiologists estimates that 0.25 percent of Sao Paulo visitors are at risk of spreading the virus through air travel.

Worries about whether the games should proceed started in February when the World Health Organization recognized Zika as a global health emergency. One affected area is Brazil with 1,400 cases of Zika-related microcephaly, or giving birth to babies with underdeveloped brain and small head.

There was even a push to postpone the said event. The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee will set a meet to strategize on how to contain the virus. The organization recognizes that it is up to the International Olympic Committee to change dates for the games.

The Olympic Committee is currently meeting to discuss about its measures against the said outbreak, among other concerns such as Brazil's political turmoil and slashing down of infrastructure budget due to the country's economic problem.

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