Zika virus should not stop Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, health official says

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Despite increasing worries about the Zika outbreak, an international health official says the 2016 Summer Olympics should not be postponed, canceled or moved from Rio de Janeiro.

Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, addressed the issue at a Tuesday briefing in Geneva.

“You don’t want to bring a standstill to the world’s movement of people,” Chan was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “This is all about risk assessment and risk management.”


Researchers suspect the mosquito-borne virus, which has been around for decades, may be linked to neurological disorders or, in cases where pregnant women become infected, severe birth defects.

The WHO has classified Zika as a global health emergency, but has emphasized that it causes mild symptoms in most people.

Olympic athletes and fans traveling to Rio in August have been advised to use insect repellent and wear adequate clothing to prevent mosquito bites. The WHO recommends that pregnant women avoid visiting Brazil and other affected areas.

Zika has been reported in 58 countries, primarily in Central and South America, the organization said.