Zika Virus Affect on the Olympic Games in August 2016

The Olympic Games is a classic case of how an epidemic can affect a business because let’s face it, that is what the Olympics has become.  

Athletes like Rory McIlroy and Jessica Innes have come out saying that although they have not made any definitive plans to abandon their gold medal dream they are closely monitoring the spread of the disease.

Image supplied by Health24.com

Image supplied by Health24.com

The Zika Virus is thought to have originally been brought the Brazil during the 2014 World Sprint Championship canoe race from French Polynesia which had experienced an outbreak in 2013-2014.  Since then Rio has experienced nearly 7,000 cases.  Although the symptoms of Zika Virus, which is spread by the Aedes mosquitoes, can be relatively mild (skin rash; mild fever and muscle and joint pain) the worry comes with the fact it can be transmitted sexually and affects pregnant women resulting in babies born with microcephaly. Often the people do not even know they are infected.  Also in French Polynesia local authorities have observed an increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome coincide with Zika Virus infections in the general Public (WHO). Guillain-Barre is a severe neurological disorder.

Prevention will be key to the. Doctors and the WHO recommend using an insect repellent containing 50% Deet, wearing long sleeved clothes in light colours that cover the majority of the body.  Safe sex practices should be adopted at least 4 weeks after their return from an affected area to reduce the risk of onward transmission.  Preferably stay in air-conditioned rooms where the windows are closed if not sleep under a mosquito net.  The Aedes mosquito is active during both day and night.

The one ray of light is that WHO predicts is that the infection will decrease prior to the Games as Brazil dries out in August let’s hope that climate change doesn’t affect that!