With Zika virus threat looming large on Rio Olympics in Brazil, the organizing committee has offered masquito nets to delegations on additional payment depending upon what type they would like to use. The rates may vary from Velcro that costs $15 to durable screens which can cost over $100.
Philip Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Rio 2016 organizing committee, said the committee will provide mosquito repellents in lodging areas and that all rooms for athletes will be air conditioned.
Zika virus has caused more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, a rare condition that results in abnormally small heads in infants and other developmental problems. While pregnant women are advised to keep off the Rio Olympics in August, the players are concerned about the health implications and their performance in the games.
However, the WHO director who visited Brazil last week said the virus should not affect international travel nor prevent a successful Olympics but advised the organizers to take effective preventive measures to control mosquitoes in Brazil.
The Olympics will start on August 5 and end on August 21. Some delegations are making their own arrangements to ensure that their teams are protected from the Zika virus. Australian team has signed a sponsorships deal with a repellent maker to supply its athletes with the deterrent, while Brazil has decided to pay for screens in rooms where its own team of 400 athletes stay during the period.
The major concern is that August is the month when Zika will be fewer in number but worries are abound that other infections spread by the same mosquito, known as Aedes aegypti, are most in the month or peak during the period. Dengue was the worst during this period in 2015 in Brazil.
With already 1.5 million people reported to have been affected by Zika in Brazil, the days ahead are scary for many athletes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned pregnant women against travelling to Brazil. “CDC Recommends that pregnant women consider not traveling to the Olympics,” said its advisory. “If you have a male partner who goes to the Olympics, you may be at risk for sexual transmission.”
The Olympics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro in August is expected to have 400,000 visitors but the zika virus threat may keep many of them out of limites for fear of contracting the virus or other related diseases. Meanwhile, tests are on warfooting to develop antibodies and test them in several parts of the world, including India.