Brazil takes steps to control spread of Zika virus during Olympics

Authorities in Brazil say they have launched a campaign to protect athletes and visitors from the Zika virus during the summer Olympics.

More than 56,000 bars and restaurants throughout the country have been sent a catalog of measures that can be used to fight the Aedes mosquito, which carries the virus. In addition, prevention and diagnostic measures have been strengthened in the South American country.

The amount of money to be spent on fighting the disease has been increased, and more than 550 tons of mosquito repellant is to be made available.

It could prove advantageous that the Olympics are scheduled to take place during the winter in Brazil, meaning fewer mosquitoes and a lower risk of the virus spreading.

The virus, which already has appeared in 21 countries in the Americas, can lead to fever and rash. It is suspected of causing microcephaly in babies born to an infected woman. The condition describes an abnormally small head circumference resulting in developmental disabilities.

In Brazil there have been 3,893 cases of microcephaly, most in the north. In six cases, the mothers were infected with Zika. The number of cases is far fewer than the hundreds required to establish a suspicion of cause.

There has not been a single case in Rio de Janeiro, where the games will open on August 5.

To combat the mosquito, which also can transmit the viruses that cause dengue fever and chikungunya, 3,000 troops will be deployed. In addition 266,000 employees of local health authorities will increase efforts to contain the virus, which has been the subject of hardly any research.

A vaccine against Zika does not exist. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that it could spread throughout the Americas.

Last update: Tue, 26/01/2016 - 11:45

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