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Rio hostile to Zika - JAAA president

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

The Jamaica team will be in Rio de Janeiro for the XXXI Olympic Games from July 24, but won't be at great risk of contracting the Zika virus.

That's the medical opinion of Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA).

Blake says the seasonal weather conditions and concerted public-health action are making Rio a hostile environment for mosquitoes.

In an interview at the association's Kingston office last week, Blake explained: "The Olympic Games are going to be taking place during the Brazilian winter, which is cool, and it can get cold, which is going to be hostile to mosquitoes."

Continuing the analysis, he said: "It's also going to be the Brazilian dry season, which is also hostile to mosquitoes."

The JAAA president says action by Brazilian public health authorities will bolster health security during the games.


In addition, athletes' accommodation will be too cool for mosquitoes to flourish.

"It will be air-conditioned, so the windows will be kept locked most of the day, which will keep the mosquitoes out and the cool environment will also reduce the number of mosquitoes out," he reasoned.

The Jamaican team will be based at a naval sports facility for team camp before moving to the Olympic Village in time for competition, which starts on August 5.

Nevertheless, the Jamaican Olympic team will be armed with mosquito repellent and advised to wear long-sleeved clothing.

"Also, as an aside, we advise our athletes that if they intend to indulge in sexual activities," he warned, "which some might want to do, they should use a condom because there is a suggestion that Zika can be sexually transmitted."

In closing, Blake insisted that all persons going to Brazil for the Games be vaccinated for yellow fever.

To give the vaccinations the 4-6 weeks required to be effective, Blake directed all those planning to be in Rio to visit the Comprehensive Health Clinic on Slipe Road in Kingston as soon as possible. The clinic is doing vaccinations for free on Fridays.