Rio 2016 hope Zika decline in time, suggest to close window

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 3 (IANS) One day after World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an international emergency over the Zika virus, Rio 2016 organising committee believed the problem will clear up in time for the Games and suggested athletes and tourists to close window.

The mosquito-transmitted Zika virus outbreak in some countries of the Americas, notably Brazil, has been linked to cases of microcephaly, which causes underdeveloped brains in babies.

The casual relation between the Zika infection during pregnancy and microcephaly is strongly suspected. Over 1.5 million Brazilians are estimated to have been infected by the virus over the past few months, Xinhua reported.

At a press conference held on Tuesday, Rio Olympic organisers are wary of Zika virus but also confident it will decline with the arrival of winter time during the Games.

The dry and cool weather in south hemisphere Rio at that time will help to decrease the mosquitos.

“In August, the number of mosquitos falls dramatically and the number of Zika cases will mirror this fall,” said Joao Grangeiro, director of medical services for the Rio 2016 organising committee.

Grangeiro said Rio 2016 has been updating the Zika situation in Brazil everyday with International Olympic Committee, and he recommended athletes and tourists keep their window closed, wear proper clothes and use repellent during the stay in Rio.

Brazil has warned pregnant women to stay away from the Summer Olympics, however Rio 2016 communications director Mario Andrada said he did not expect people to cancel trips to Rio for the Games as a result of the Zika virus outbreak.

He added that the organising committee would follow travel guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation.

As the first Olympics held in South America, Rio Olympics will be held between August 5-21.

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