Health

Anti-Zika plan for Rio Olympics prescribes safe sex, avoiding poor areas

People travelling to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should avoid visiting impoverished and overcrowded urban areas to prevent catching the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects, the World Health Organization says.

WHO offers advice to athletes, visitors to Rio de Janeiro and other areas where Zika virus is circulating

People travelling to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should avoid visiting impoverished and overcrowded urban areas to prevent catching the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Athletes and visitors should also:

  • Consult a health worker before travelling.
  • Use insect repellent and clothing on as much of their body as possible.
  • Practice safe sex or abstain during their stay and for at least four weeks after their return.

They should also choose air-conditioned accommodation.

Pregnant women continue to be advised to avoid travelling to areas with Zika transmission, including Rio de Janeiro, the WHO said.

Zika virus disease usually causes mild symptoms and most people will not develop any symptoms. 

But given the scientific consensus that Zika virus causes two illnesses, health officials advise precautions.

Zika causes infant microcephaly and other severe brain abnormalties, as well as rare but severe outcomes such as Guillain Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis. 

As of yesterday, the United Nations health agency said 58 countries and territories report continuing mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus.  

The 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games run from August 5 to September 18. 

With files from CBC News

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