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Zika: Will The Rio Olympics Be Cancelled Because Of The Virus

Thu, January 28, 2016 11:09pm EDT by 5 Comments
Zika Virus Rio Olympics
AP Images

Are the Rio Olympics in danger of being shut down? As the world continues to panic over the spread of the infectious Zika virus, health officials are now advising female spectators and athletes to stay away from the summer games at all costs. Get the scary new details below!

Things are not looking good for the 2016 Rio Olympics. With just six months to go until the start of the Opening Ceremony, health officials are now warning female spectators and even athletes to reconsider their plans amid the threat of a worldwide Zika outbreak. The Brazilian government has vowed to do everything in its power to stop the spread of the infectious virus ahead of the games, but will it be enough? Find out more below! 

As the Zika virus continues to spread at alarming rates throughout the world, athletes and tourists are now being told to reconsider their decision to travel to Brazil for the Rio Olympics kicking off in August 2016. At this point, both Russian and Australian officials have already raised fears for those women preparing to compete in the Games, while numerous airlines around the world are now offering pregnant women the chance to swap or refund their tickets to avoid traveling to affected areas — of which Brazil is the worst.

The offers of refunds and dire warnings have no doubt put added pressure on the country, as well as the International Olympic Committee, which has already been struggling under the strain of preparing for the upcoming Games.  Still, despite these early threats, the IOC has stressed that the Games will go head as planned, as they remain confident that they will be able to get the outbreak under control before the start of the Olympics. “We will do everything to ensure the health of the athletes and all the visitors,” said IOC chief Thomas Bach during a press conference on Jan. 28.  “We are in close contact with the World Health Organization as well as with the [Games] organizing committee and the Brazilian authorities.”

For those who don’t know, Zika is a mosquitos-borne virus that is said to cause flu-like symptoms and a rash in those infected. While by itself, the virus is not normally life-threatening, and most people who become infected have no symptoms at all, it has been linked to a recent rise in birth defects, including brain damage and abnormally small heads in those infected.

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In light of recent concerns, the Brazilian government has already started spraying potential mosquito breeding sites to limit the possibility of a possible outbreak. “The Olympic and Paralympic venues will be inspected on a daily basis during the Rio 2016 Games to ensure that there are no puddles of stagnant water, and therefore minimize the risk of coming into contact with mosquitoes,” added Rio 2016 spokesman Phil Wilkinson.

“The Rio 2016 organizing committee is in regular contact with the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Municipal Health department, which are the responsible authorities for guidance on health issues in Brazil and Rio,” he added. “The organizing committee will follow the virus prevention and control measures provided by the authorities and provide relevant guidance to Games visitors.”

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HollywoodLifers, are you concerned about the spread of the Zika virus? Share your thoughts in the comments below!