World Health Organization Rejects Call To Move Rio Olympics Due to Zika Virus

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The World Health Organization has rejected an open letter call from more than 100 scientists and health experts to either cancel, postpone or move the 2016 Rio Olympics due to the Zika virus in Brazil, according to the Associated Press.

The WHO stated today that there is “no public health justification” for moving, postponing or canceling the 2016 Rio Olympics due to the Zika outbreak.

Yesterday’s open letter called for a change to the Rio Olympics, citing that there are historic levels of the birth defect microcephaly in Brazil, a defect linked to the Zika virus.

“That while Zika’s risk to any single individual is low, the risk to a population is undeniably high. Currently, Brazil’s government reports 120,000 probable Zika cases, and 1,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (with another 3,300 under investigation), which is above the historical level of microcephaly,” the group said.

Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a sickness that struck Olympic star Rowdy Gaines back in 1991, and more recently former world-record holder Andy Coan.

WHO disagreed today, saying that “based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.”

“Based on the current assessment of Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games,” The WHO said in its statement. “WHO will continue to monitor the situation and update our advice as necessary.”

The WHO already had declared a state of global emergency back in February regarding the Zika virus.

Full AP Article.

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Monique

    Despite the fact that the WHO considers the Zikia virus a “global health crisis” meaning it a really serious situation, you won’t move the Olympics. They say it won’t affect anyone even though in reality it will. So unless they say it really isn’t a “global health crisis” they really should consider to move the games else where!

    • avatar
      Namirah

      Exactly!

Author: Jason Marsteller

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Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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