Brazil epicenter for more health risks as Olympics draw closer

First it was about the murky waters in and around Rio, now a mosquito virus has everyone heading to the Olympics as both anxious and being very uneasy

Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and scores of other media outlets around the world have picked up on what the World Health Organization in recent days identified as a “major” medical threat similar to the Ebola virus a few years ago.

The Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda (Africa) during the 1940’s and is generally transmitted through contact via mosquitos, mostly affecting pregnant women.   According to a report on February 9, it has spread to almost every country in North and South America.  Only small traces of people traveling to the United States, in particular southern Florida have had only a few reports of a very tiny trace of the disease.  20 of the 50 states are currently affected, but there is no treatment or vaccine for this disease as of this time.  Mild illness is the main concern if people come in contact with this virus.

Brazil was the first to get this virus in late 2014 and mental abnormalities have found many women not following through with normal pregnancies.  Symptoms include getting a fever to a rash and red eye, but it mostly lasts from a few days to about a week.  In Olympic terms, that would take up half the Games if that follows around at every outdoor venue and the thousands of athletes that gather inside the Athletes Village.  Scary as it sounds, but you can never be too careful or cautious.

The Rio Olympic Organizing Committee is already taking the necessary steps on virus prevention at all venues while staying in serious consultations with both the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Municipal Health Department.  The United States Olympic Committee also hired two medical specialists on Wednesday that deal with infectious diseases and will be counseling each of the athletes prior to leaving for Brazil.  The American athletes will be educated mainly on covering up most areas of exposed skin, using insect repellent whenever necessary, and trying to stay away from any size of water that appears to be like a pond or any other stream or puddles of water where insect populations could form and breed.

Instead of me talking about which track stars are going to challenge Usain Bolt’s reign of dominance or if Michael Phelps attempts to slay at least a half dozen challengers in the swimming pool, it is very disheartening and flat out disgusting to once again read this type of news.  And yes, it is too late for the Olympics to relocate.

One of the reasons why I blog is to give you the reader, nothing but the facts.

And the simple facts are, it is going to get very ugly before things get better.

Hopefully, my next Olympic update will focus on the happier things and that is what I choose to do.  Comment if you wish, but only time will tell if in the end, these stories would be mostly hot air similar to the smog that did not derail the competitors during the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China.



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