rio olympics, health hazards, zika virus

Global Health Disaster Due To Zika In The Upcoming Rio Olympics: Warns Scientists

Doctors have warned that the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro could end up causing a public health disaster. The hazardous effects may be due to the Zika virus which was identified in Brazil in May 2015. Since the disease's spread through Latin America has been declared a health emergency by the World Health Organisation. The number of suspected cases are higher in Rio than any state in the country.

Due to the presence of this virus prior to the Olympics has caused a panic for athletes and health specialists. However, there are lots of risks involved in allowing the games to go ahead as it will affect the hundreds of thousands of spectators travelling to the city. There are so many health risks caused by the spread of the virus.

According to the Harvard Public Health Review: the Olympic games could speed up the spread of the virus. Dr Amir Attaran said that the virus Zika is inevitable, it can spread globally. He suggested that the games could be hosted by another city in Brazil where there are less chances of this threatening illness.

Moreover, the situation can become worse as the estimated around 500,000 foreign tourists will come to Rio for the games and in case if any of them gets infected while returning to their home with the Aedes mosquitoes and sexual transmission it can cause a new outburst.

Among the many travellers, if one gets infected then it may lead to a global health disaster. The viral introductions due to the infection can get transferred in few countries or continents would make a full-blown global health disaster.

Thus, the officials should take drastic action to follow the measures that aids preventing the virus as there are less than three months to go until the game begins. The warning seem to be another blow to Brazilian authorities as they have lost the confidence to the host the Olympic games.

In addition to this, Brazil is currently facing steep economic decline and the corruption scandal which has caused a national outrage too. Severe water pollution problems and the violence has fuelled the scepticism about the suitability of Rio to host games.

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Health Complications: Though the mortality rate caused due to the infection is less, hospitalization is rare. But still the virus is very dangerous leading to many health complications such as paralysis, and liver failure. Moreover, it increases the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome which is an autoimmune disease attacking the myelin lining of nerve cells, resulting in widespread weakness and paralysis.

As there is no vaccine against the Zika virus and no medications so the best approach is to follow preventive measures:

  • You should protect yourself from mosquitoes and control the spread of the mosquito that breeds in clean water and spreads the Zika virus.
  • Keep your surroundings clean and avoid the stagnant water to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use an insect repellent and wear long sleeve clothing so that you won’t get bitten by the infected mosquitoes.
  • Use a mosquito bed net if you are are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

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