How Rio Olympic organisers are fighting Zika

How Rio Olympic organisers are fighting Zika
By Euronews
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Rio officials said on Monday special measures would be taken to curb the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, linked to a surge in cases of children born with brain damage.

Brazil and neighbouring countries in South America are suffering from an outbreak of the virus which sees infants born with a range of birth defects and the paralysis-causing Guillain-Barre syndrome. Euronews takes a look at how Rio 2016 will protect the public.

1. What will the organisers do?

Local organisers noted that with the Olympics taking place in August, Brazil’s dry season and South America’s winter, mosquito populations would have greatly decreased.

Teams will, nonetheless, be sent out daily to scour the Olympic venues, both during the Games and several months before, to remove any pools of stagnant water where the Zika-carrying Aeges Aegypti mosquitoes can breed easily.

2. What measures will be taken?

Rio Olympic officials confirmed they would remain in close contact with the Brazilian Ministry of Health and adopt the virus prevention and control measures provided by the authorities.

Visitors during the Games will be offered relevant guidance, but pregnant women are still advised not to travel to the affected countries, including Brazil.

In addition, fumigation will only be used in extreme circumstances to avoid health issues for athletes and spectators.

3. What can the locals do?

The Rio City Hall earlier said in a statement that as about 80 percent of mosquito breeding takes place in and around housing, the fight against the virus was “a duty for all.”

Locals are encouraged to remove still-water around their homes and report such areas with such conditions to the authorities.

4. Any other issues for organisers?

The Zika outbreak is the latest in a series of setbacks for Olympic officials, who are looking to cut nearly $500 million from their budget. Concerns remain over the high levels of pollution in the sailing and rowing venues.

Impeachment proceedings have also been launched against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, brought about by accusations her government broke fiscal responsibility laws. She strongly disputes the claims.

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