Updated 08:17 PM EDT, Thu, Oct 21, 2021

Rio de Janeiro Olympics: Brazil Officials Take Precautionary Measures to Protect Tourists Against the Zika Virus

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Authorities in Rio de Janeiro take steps to protect fans and athletes alike in the upcoming Olympic Games from the mosquito-borne Zika virus, linked to birth abnormalities in infants.

According to BBC News, Brazilian officials are planning to make inspections as well as daily sweeps in the Olympic facilities four months before the Games take place this year.

"The Mayor's office will be intensifying inspections. About a month before the opening of the Games a team will visit all competition sites to eliminate possible concentrations," a statement from the Rio local government cited in ABC explained.

However, BBC notes that fumigation will not be as regular as the sweeps, describing it as "an option on a case-by-case basis," due to health concerns for the guests.

Furthermore, the local health ministry also vowed an intensified monitoring in the city, where they usually deploy some 3,000 public health agents all year round. They added that there will be "a dedicated team focused on the Olympic installations."

Aside from that, the British Olympic Association has also expressed their intention to keep a close eye over the situation in the Brazilian capital for the next couple of months, with the help of experts from the London School of Tropical Medicine.

According to BBC, the goal is to make sure that all team members are "given the most up-to-date travel medicine advice, which includes information on bite prevention strategies."

"This information has already been shared with all sports and it will be continually updated prior to departure for the Olympic Games," the organization said in a statement.

According to ABC, one possible solution the Rio local government may be looking into is the possibility of holding the Games during the winter season, when mosquitoes that carry Zika virus are less active.

Worry about the newly discovered mosquito-borne virus continues to escalate as reports linked the outbreak in Brazil as a factor in the increase in number of babies with microcephaly.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a warning for pregnant women to refrain from traveling to Latin America countries, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and many others.

Zika virus has been linked to a 3,700 of cases of microcephaly since the beginning of 2015, a staggering comparison to the recorded 147 cases for the entire 2014, CNN noted.

Scientists have yet to find the connection of the mosquito-borne virus to microcephaly, which is characterized by brain underdevelopment in babies.

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