The 2016 Summer Olympic games begin on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of almost two dozen countries affected by the Zika virus.
Although the Rio 2016 Olympics are still six months away, there is rising concern over the virus becoming a health threat to athletes who are participating in the Summer Games, as well as anyone who plans to travel to the 17-day event.
— HealthMap (@healthmap) February 1, 2016
According to Reuters, the United States Olympics Committee (USOC) told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff who are concerned about their health due to the Zika virus not to go to Brazil if they don’t feel comfortable doing so.
Donald Anthony, president and board chairman of USA Fencing states that the USOC stated that “no one should go to Brazil if they don’t feel comfortable going; bottom line.”
The Zika virus spreads from person to person through the bite of an infected the Aedes mosquito, found in tropical climates around the world. The disease can also be spread if any type of mosquito bites someone with Zika and then bites another person.
According to a previous report from Starpulse, the virus is currently being transmitted in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and at least 18 other countries.
USA Today reports that 50 cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in the United States, all from people have recently returned from traveling to some of the countries affected by the virus.
As the 2016 Summer Games get closer, Reuters reports that USOC officials are taking the Zika threat seriously and understand that Olympic athletes have “tough decisions to make” in the coming months.