Rio Olympics Could Spark ‘Full Blown Global Health Disaster’

THE INDEPENDENT (UK) — The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could spark a “full-blown public health disaster”, doctors have warned.

Since the Zika virus was first identified in Brazil in May 2015, the disease’s spread through Latin America has been declared a health emergency by the World Health Organisation and the number of suspected cases in Rio is the highest of any state in the country.

The continued presence of the virus ahead of the summer Olympics has caused athletes and health specialists to question the risks involved in allowing the Games to go ahead with hundreds of thousands of spectators travelling to the city.

Writing in the Harvard Public Health Review, Dr Amir Attaran said the Games could speed up the spread of the virus, and suggested the Games could be hosted by another city in Brazil where the illness is less of a threat.

He said: “While Brazil’s Zika inevitably will spread globally, given enough time, viruses always do – it helps nobody to speed that up.

Writing in the Harvard Public Health Review, Dr Amir Attaran said the Games could speed up the spread of the virus, and suggested the Games could be hosted by another city in Brazil where the illness is less of a threat.

He said: “While Brazil’s Zika inevitably will spread globally, given enough time, viruses always do – it helps nobody to speed that up.

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