HS Insider

Does the Zika virus pose a real threat to the Rio Olympics?

Despite the Zika outbreak, residents of the host city remain positive about the upcoming Summer Olympics, however, foreigners are unsure of attending the games.

In Brazil, over 4,000 babies were born with abnormal head sizes. This abnormality has been linked to the Zika virus,  a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes, which became prevalent in mid-2015.

Many people, including members of the International Olympic Committee, have voiced opinions on canceling this year’s Summer Olympics. Art Caplan, a New York University professor, has stated that Brazil is not taking into account public health.

“The country shouldn’t be trying to run an Olympics and battle an epidemic at the same time,” said Caplan. “We don’t have a good screening test to protect the blood supply, which is a big issue because if pregnant or fertile women get exposed to Zika in a transfusion it’s a real problem.”

However, others don’t think Zika will pose a major threat when the Olympic games arrive in August.

According to CNN, Dr. Mary Wilson of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that the games will be held in Brazil’s colder months when mosquitoes are less prominent.

The best hope is that native Brazilians have enough immunity before the Olympic games hit, and once the mosquitoes are controlled, the disease will be reduced. Other precautions are for pregnant women to not travel to Brazil.

Even with the Zika virus prevalent, the Olympic games will bring many jobs and income to the host country.

According to The Guardian, Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, has been accused of taking money from state banks to cover the government’s budget, which has led to an economic downward spiral in the country and it’s people.

As Brazil has high unemployment and inflation already, this year’s Summer Olympics can truly bring a boost to the country’s economic system.

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