Zika Virus Effecting the 2016 Rio Olympics

Brazilian authorities have released a statement about the growing threat of the Zika virus at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games scheduled for August 2016. Daily inspections will be made during the Games, paying close attention to mosquito-breeding fields.

The Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, usually only found in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Symptoms of the Zika virus are minimal, usually joint pain and a headache, and only last for a week. However, the virus is being linked to severe birth defects if the mosquito bites a pregnant woman.

The Games are taking place in August, usually hot and humid in the U.S., but temperatures will be dry and cool in Brazil. While the threat of mosquitoes is low, athletes’ fears about traveling to the Olympics are high. Soccer player Hope Solo has publicly announced that unless the Zika situation changes, she won’t be going. The threat is most serious to pregnant women, and while there have been a handful of Olympic athletes that have competed before they knew they were pregnant or were only a few months pregnant, it’s unlikely at this year’s Games.

Doctors and scientists have weighed in on the issue of Zika at the Olympics and there’s no clear answer. New York University bioethicist Art Caplan said that Brazil can’t handle the Olympics and the extermination of an entire specie of mosquito at the same time. On the other hand, some prominent people in the healthcare field say it could be a chance for Brazil to respond differently to an outbreak of a mass virus after poorly handling the Ebola crisis.

Leah Sheltry, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Senior Leah Sheltry is the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is the secretary of Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) Club and is on the swim team. She will attend Lasell College to study Fashion Communication & Promotion next fall.

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