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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1838-1839
Advice to the international visitors to Rio Olympics: World Health Organization


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

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Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2018
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Advice to the international visitors to Rio Olympics: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1838-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Advice to the international visitors to Rio Olympics: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Nov 17];10:1838-9. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/6/1838/222645


Amidst the potential threat of Zika virus disease (ZVD) in Brazil, the nation will be organizing the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the months of August and September 2016, respectively.[1] Anticipating that it will be a mass gathering that could probably strain the resources of the nation and the community, it is the need of the hour to prioritize the issue and give adequate public health importance to the event.[2] However, from another angle, it provides numerous opportunities for the stakeholders to plan and implement interventions in such a way that the public health system remains strengthened even after the event and both residents and visitors are well informed about measures to prevent the causation of specific diseases.[1],[2]

Acknowledging the risk to the lives of millions of people from various diseases, the World Health Organization has released a set of recommendations for the benefit of policy makers and healthcare personnel to inform people about the practices that should be adhered to stay safe and healthy during their visit.[2] The first and foremost is that travelers should be informed about the potential health risks that they might be exposed to and relevant preventive measures to reduce the probability of acquisition of infection or meeting an accident.[2]

In fact, a physician consultation should be planned at least 1-2 months before the departure to ensure adequate time for the completion of both routine vaccines (as per the travelers' national immunization schedule against diseases like against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, mumps-measles-rubella, hepatitis B, etc.) and region-specific vaccines like influenza.[2],[3] Furthermore, some of the optional vaccines (such as hepatitis A, yellow fever, etc.) can also be offered depending on the vulnerability of the individual.[2]

In addition, despite the favorable environmental factor that the games will be played during winter season, during which the risk of mosquito-borne disease (malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, ZVD, etc.) will be lower, it is advised that travelers should adhere to common personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites and avoid visiting localities with no piped water supply or poor sanitation facilities.[2],[4] Further, a high index of suspicion should be maintained for the Zika virus infection, as it usually causes a mild disease with most of the cases being asymptomatic, and a serious risk of microcephaly or other neurological disorders and social adverse consequences.[4] As ZVD also spreads through sexual route, there is a great need to ensure safe sexual practices or abstain from sex for the duration of their pregnancy.[1] In addition, pregnant women should not travel to the Olympics or any area where the Zika virus is circulating.[1],[2]

Moreover, safe sexual practices are even required to prevent the acquisition of other sexually transmitted infections, and there is an extensive need to launch health promotion and prevention campaigns in the region.[4],[5] Further, adoption of standard measures to prevent illnesses caused by unsafe food and drink or other airborne infections will also play a great role in minimizing the risk of acquisition of infections.[2]

Finally, local health authorities can also provide relevant information to the visitors about the specific health risk, systematically obtain travel history, and even notify the concerned stakeholders once they encounter any health hazard.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, considering the issue of minimizing the health risk to the visitors and the general population, there is a significant need to perform an all-hazard risk assessment, communicate health advice to different national health authorities, monitor the proceedings precisely during the event, implement desired essential measures, and then prepare a comprehensive report with technical assistance and share the same in future such events.

Acknowledgements

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.
Eberhardt KA, Vinnemeier CD, Dehnerdt J, Rolling T, Steffen R, Cramer JP. Travelers to the FIFA world cup 2014 in Brazil: Health risks related to mass gatherings/sports events and implications for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Travel Med Infect Dis 2016;14:212-20.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]    
2.
World Health Organization. Brazil-Health advice for travellers to the 2016 summer Olympic and Paralympic games; 2016.. Available from: http://who.int/ith/updates/20160621/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 June 24].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Engstrom EM, Motta JI, Venâncio SA. Training of professionals in post-graduation courses in public health and primary healthcare in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cien Saude Colet 2016;21:1461-70.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Burattini MN, Coutinho FA, Lopez LF, Ximenes R, Quam M, Wilder-Smith A. Potential exposure to Zika virus for foreign tourists during the 2016 Carnival and Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Epidemiol Infect 2016;144:1904-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Engstrom EM, Teixeira MB. Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “Street Clinic” team: Care and health promotion practice in a vulnerable territory. Cien Saude Colet 2016;21:1839-48.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    

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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: 10.4103/1755-6783.222645

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