Zika Virus: No Threat to Rio 2016

Despite the outbreak of Zika Virus in Brazil, Rio 2016 Spokesman, Mário Andrada, confirmed that the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will go ahead as planned in August. Here are the facts.

The Zika virus is causing a lot of uncertainty for everyone travelling to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately most media reports do not answer the all-important questions on how dangerous the virus is. KhayaMedia has tried to answer the most important questions to help its clients preparing for the Games.

1.     Is Rio de Janeiro part of the affected area of Brazil? Yes

2.     Are the winter months, July to September, a good breeding time for mosquitoes?

No, in winter there are a lot less mosquitoes around.

3.     Is Zika a threat to the Olympic Games?

"Come Game time I think the Zika situation has calmed down by then since the immunity is already high”, says the virologist Jan Felix Drexler of the University Bonn.

4.     Does every mosquito carry the Zika virus?

No, it is only transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes - Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus.

5.     What is the chance of contracting Zika and falling ill?

Only 20% of people contracting Zika show symptoms of ‘Zika fever’. Of these most have relatively mild symptoms: fever to 38 degrees and headaches. More serious symptoms include: rash, fever, dizziness, conjunctivitis and joint pains. The symptoms last for 2-7 days.

6.     Does the Zika virus pose serious or long term health problems?

Pregnant women have been warned against travelling to Rio de Janeiro. There is a possible link between Zika fever and microcephaly in new-born babies by mother-to-child transmission. Microcephaly is a condition that can lead to babies being born with small heads and underdeveloped brains.

For others there is no known long-term effect. The virus typically affects them for maximum a week.

7.     What is the treatment for Zika Fever?

Zika fever is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika fever should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with over the counter medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.

8.     Can you contract Zika several times?

No, the human body immediately builds anti-bodies. You can’t contract Zika a second time.

9.     What precautions should one take?

This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets.

It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are reduced.

10.  What precautions are the authorities in Brazil taking?

Rio 2016 Spokesman, Mário Andrada, confirmed that the Games will go ahead as planned in August. He also stated that current fumigation operations are continuing in and around Rio de Janeiro and will soon include approximately 220,000 members of the armed forces who will launch a massive clean-up operation to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.