Thu | Sep 21, 2017

IOC sends Zika virus advice ahead of Olympics

Published:Saturday | January 30, 2016 | 1:00 AM
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach

LONDON (AP):

The IOC advised national Olympic committees yesterday to follow the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidance on dealing with the Zika virus ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, asserting its confidence that the games will be safe.

Brazil has been hit hard by the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in infants, raising concerns about the outbreak's potential impact on South America's first Olympics in August.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent a note to all national Olympic committees outlining the latest medical advice concerning the Zika virus, the most recent problem for a country already dealing with a severe economic crisis and a sprawling corruption scandal.

"All parties are taking action to address this topic, and are following developments closely," the IOC said.

The two-page note from the IOC medical commission repeated advice for travellers to take precautions against mosquito bites and for women who are planning to become pregnant to assess the potential risks of travelling to areas infected with the virus.

"The IOC remains in close contact with the WHO to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance, from now through to Games time," the IOC statement said. "At the same time NOCs should consult with their national health authorities to get advice and guidance."

The IOC did not say the Olympics were threatened in any way and made it clear that it expects the Aug. 5-21 games to be secure for athletes and visitors.

"We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro," the statement concluded.