Olympic leader says Zika virus won't scare nations away from 2016 Summer Games

The president of the International Olympic Committee said Friday he does not believe the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil will prompt nations to skip the upcoming 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Thomas Bach addressed the issue before the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

"There is no intention by [any] national Olympic committee to pull out from the Rio Olympic Games," Bach was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "This does not exclude that we are taking this situation very seriously."

Earlier this week, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced its intention to hire two infectious disease specialists to advise athletes worried about traveling to Rio for the Games.

The mosquito-borne virus has spread throughout the Americas but has been especially prevalent in Brazil. Women are considered to be at heightened risk as health officials seek to determine if Zika is linked to cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head.

The World Health Organization has characterized the outbreak as an emergency situation but has not issued a travel ban.

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