Report from Harvard Public Health Review, written by Dr. Amir Attaran has warned that holding Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could lead to a “full-blown global health disaster”.
This view has also been supported by a group of world-class athletes who raised their concerns over Zika infection which continues to spread in Brazil.
Zika virus is said to be difficult to detect its infection in adults and causes microcephaly and other abnormalities in new born babies. “While Brazil’s Zika inevitably will spread globally — given enough time, viruses always do — it helps nobody to speed that up.
In particular, it cannot possibly help when an estimated 500,000 foreign tourists flock into Rio for the Games, potentially becoming infected, and returning to their homes where both local Aedes mosquitoes and sexual transmission can establish new outbreaks.
All it takes is one infected traveller: indeed phylogenetic and molecular clock analyses establish that Brazil’s cataclysmic outbreak stems from a single viral introduction event likely between May and December 2013.
A few viral introductions of that kind, in a few countries, or maybe continents, would make a full-blown global health disaster.”-reads the report.
The doctors recommend that the Olympics should be rescheduled from Rio to another Olympic city not affected by the Zika virus. “…Which leads to a simple question: But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half a million visitors into Brazil right now? Of course not: mass migration into the heart of an outbreak is a public health no-brainer.
And given the choice between accelerating a dangerous new disease or not — for it is impossible that Games will slow Zika down — the answer should be a no-brainer for the Olympic organisers too. Putting sentimentality aside, clearly the Rio 2016 Games must not proceed.”-reads the report