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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 762-764
Zika virus disease: Potential risk for the athletes and the international visitors in the Rio Olympic Games, 2016


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Zika virus disease: Potential risk for the athletes and the international visitors in the Rio Olympic Games, 2016. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:762-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Zika virus disease: Potential risk for the athletes and the international visitors in the Rio Olympic Games, 2016. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 22];10:762-4. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/762/188514


Dear Sir,

Zika virus disease, a public health emergency of international concern, has been isolated from 58 countries and territories, including Brazil, since the current outbreak emerged in May 2015.[1] Brazil is set to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016 in the month of August across different venues spread across six different cities of the nation.[2] Considering the potential risk of acquiring the infection in the affected nations and with an anticipated 0.5 million international visitors expected to come to witness the games, there is a definite threat that the current outbreak may result in a global disaster subsequently.[2],[3] However, the good thing is that the games will be organized in winter season, when the number of mosquitoes will be less and the risk of mosquito bite being lower.[2]

Furthermore, as the region is already plagued by the problem of defective stagnation which plays a significant role in the breeding of the mosquito vector, it has even been opined that it is socially an irresponsible and ethically a questionable decision to allow the conduction of the games.[1],[3],[4] In fact, it has even been realized by the World Health Organization and other stakeholders that a large number of athletes and visitors are quite concerned about the risk of acquiring the infection and methods to prevent the same while attending the event.[1],[2]

Moreover, as major proportion of the patients will remain either asymptomatic or will develop only mild symptoms, it is very difficult to identify each one of the infected patients.[1],[4] In addition, the infection has been associated with the simultaneous rise in the incidence of microcephaly and other neurological disorders.[1],[5]

Furthermore, there is no specific curative treatment or prophylactic vaccine available for the management of the disease.[1] Thus, it is very important to create awareness about the various modes of transmission, including infected mosquito bite and person-to-person transmission through unprotected sex.[1],[4],[6]

It has been advocated that the best form of prevention is through protection against mosquito bites, and hence all the athletes and visitors should follow the travel advice (viz., wearing clothes which can cover maximum body parts; use insect repellents to exposed skin/clothing or physical barriers like screens; sleeping under mosquito nets, especially during the day, when the causative mosquito is most active; opt for air-conditioned accommodation; avoid visiting high-risk areas with no piped water or poor sanitation, etc.) recommended by the World Health Organization and even consult health workers before travelling.[1],[2],[4] Similar sorts of recommendations are even applicable to pregnant women, but it is advised to defer their visit to the areas with on-going virus transmission.[2],[5]

Furthermore, in order to counter the risk of sexual transmission, all patients and their partners should be counselled for the potential risk associated with sexual transmission, motivated to practice either abstinence or safe sex throughout the pregnancy (among females with an infected partner) or for minimum 4 weeks after individuals have returned from the endemic region.[1],[2] Also, measures should be taken to locate and abolish the potential mosquito-breeding sites.[3],[6] However, all the travellers and visitors should be provided with up-to-date advice on the potential risks and appropriate interventions to minimize the probability of acquiring the infection.[1],[2],[6]

To conclude, Zika virus disease possesses the potential for global transmission and thus it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders to ensure that the 2016 Olympic event does not eventually result in a global tragedy.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health OrganizationZika virus – Fact sheet; 2016. Accessed May 13 2016Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Zika virus and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/zika-olympics/en/ Accessed May 17 2016  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Brasil P, Calvet GA, Siqueira AM, Wakimoto M, de Sequeira PC, Nobre A, Zika virus outbreak in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Clinical characterization, epidemiological and virological aspects. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016;10:e0004636.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J, Zika virus disease outbreaks in the American region in 2015 - 2016. Sifa Med J 2016;3:56-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Simões R, Buzzini R, Bernardo W, Cardoso F, Salomão A, Cerri G, Update on Zika virus infection in pregnancy. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2016;62:106-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Speciale AM, Zika: an opportunity for change in Latin America?. Pract Midwife 2016;19:6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur: Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.188514

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