No need to cancel or postpone Olympics due to Zika, says UN health agency


WHO noted that among the precautions that people considering travel to the Olympics should take include:

  • Following the travel advice provided by their countries’ health authorities, and consulting a health worker before travelling;
  • Whenever possible, during the day, protecting themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents and by wearing clothing – preferably light-coloured – that covers as much of the body as possible;
  • Practicing safer sex or abstaining from sex during their stay and for at least four weeks after their return, particularly if they have had or are experiencing symptoms of Zika virus;
  • Choosing air-conditioned accommodation (where windows and doors are usually kept closed to prevent the cool air from escaping, and mosquitoes cannot enter the rooms); and
  • Avoiding visiting areas in cities and towns with no piped water or poor sanitation, where the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes is higher.

WHO said that, along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), it is providing public health advice to the Government of Brazil and the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee on ways to further mitigate the risk of athletes and visitors contracting Zika virus during the Games. An important focus of the advice revolves around measures to reduce populations of Aedes mosquitoes which transmit chikungunya,dengue and yellow fever in addition to the Zika virus, the agency said.

WHO added that it will continue to monitor the situation and update its advice as necessary.