Rio Olympics 2016: Brazilian Authorities 'Counting On Luck, Weather' To Avoid Zika Outbreak

zika virus
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, March 6, 2016. Picture taken March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Brazil has been one of the most affected countries with Zika virus. Up to 100,000 confirmed Zika cases have been reported since last October in the South American, which makes the health issue qualify as an epidemic.

Being that the Olympics are practically here, people are expecting government officials to take far more drastic measures, but instead they seem to be counting on luck to avoid a major Zika outbreak during (and because of) the games. “We are counting on luck, we are counting on weather,” Brazilian biologist Mario Moscatelli told Fox News Latino.

Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes did not seem too worried about the possibility of a massive outbreak as a consequence of the major sporting event. “The Olympics are taking place when the mosquito is not procreating, not active. August and July are the driest months, and they’re less warm, so you have a lower incidence of mosquito bites,” he explained.

While authorities in Brazil seem to be taking the matter more lightly, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization are campaigning to raise awareness, starting with asking pregnant women not to travel to Brazil for the games.

Additionally, affiliated organizations are asking those who will attend the sporting event to practice safe sex while in the country and at least four weeks after their return to their countries, since some cases of the virus being sexually transmitted have been confirmed in the last few months.

Last December, Spanish gold medalist Marina Alabau visited Brazil to train and reportedly contracted the virus. The athlete was quickly diagnosed with Zika and doctors assured her it would pass in 24 hours, but her symptoms worsened. “My whole body turned red and everything itched. Two days later, my joints started aching," she explained. "First it was in the fingers, then my wrists and finally my ankles. It was then that I decided to return to Spain because I was a little worried.”

Alabau did, however, visit the country in the midst of its hottest season.

Hopefully authorities will take the health emergency seriously and be prepared to raise awareness and assist prevention during the Rio Olympics in two months.

What do you think?
Natalie Roterman
Natalie Roterman

Natalie (from Mexico) joined Latin Times back in 2014 and she is all about pop culture and entertainment. She also has a genetic love for food and traveling. Follow her and get the scoop on the biggest upcoming films and TV shows, plus interviews with your favorite stars that you won’t want to miss. When she’s not writing for Latin Times, she’s either filming her next episode of “El Show de Natalie,” at a movie theater, binge-watching a new TV series, or planning her next meal.