Olympic leaders say Zika virus won’t put damper on Summer Games

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at a news conference at UCLA on Monday.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

Though the World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus a global emergency, Olympic leaders do not expect that athletes will be scared away from the 2016 Summer Games.

The Rio de Janeiro competition will take place next summer in a country where a recent cluster of neurological disorders linked to the mosquito-borne illness has prompted concern.

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“We welcome this decision by the World Health Organization because it allows us to raise more awareness and provide even more resources to fight the virus,” Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said during a visit to Los Angeles this week.


The IOC has been in contact with Brazilian authorities and all of its member nations about dealing with the virus.

Bach noted that the WHO has not called for a travel ban and that August will be winter in the Southern Hemisphere, not a prime breeding season for mosquitoes.

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“All of this will convince the athletes to come to Rio de Janeiro,” he said.



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