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Every few years we’re told mosquitoes are carrying and spreading a new virus or disease. While people do get infected and the consequences can lead to death, most people are left unaffected. The Zika virus is the latest of these threats.
Although the virus is still relatively new, it’s causing quite a stir among travelers. People are cancelling their vacations and destination weddings in fear of being bitten by the wrong mosquito. More mentionable, athletes are opting out of the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics due to the Zika virus. Zika does not generally lead to death, so why the big worry? Babies born to mothers who have been infected with Zika have birth defects. This may be what sets the virus apart – it can be transmitted in utero.
This isn’t the first time the Olympics have been plagued with a virus: 90 people were diagnosed with meningitis in the early 2000s and in 2006 the norovirus spread to 65 patrons of the FIFA World Cup (not the Olympics but a world sports event).
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) rates the Olympics at an Alert Level 2 (out of three). The World Health Organization (WHO) has also raised grave concern. This raises the question: Is Brazil being socially irresponsible with this possibility of a public health crisis? We can only hope that athletes and on-lookers alike practice safety precautions which can be found on their website.
The CDC released an unprecedented travel warning Monday, August 1, 2016, advising not to travel to a small community just north of downtown Miami. Why is this unprecedented? Because it’s the first time the CDC has recommended travelers not voyage to an American city.
The crisis caused by Zika does not seem to be ending soon. We will have to keep a close eye on the Olympics as well as the spread of the virus in our country.
To find out more about safety precaution and virus prevention please visit the World Health Organization Website at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
Or visit the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/