Last updated: 10:39 AM ET, Thu August 04 2016

Zika Virus: Pregnant Women Advised to Avoid Rio Olympics

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | May 16, 2016

Zika Virus: Pregnant Women Advised to Avoid Rio Olympics

Photo by David Cogswell

The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization has issued a warning for pregnant women to avoid any travel to Brazil during the 2016 Olympics in Rio due to the outbreak of the Zika virus.

According to, the two health organizations are working to educate the athletes and the personnel working the Olympics about the risks posed by the Zika virus, including ways to prevent infection.

The Zika virus has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly in newborn babies.

Brazil is one of the countries most impacted by the virus, which has seen 1,271 confirmed cases between October 2015 and April 2016. Officials from both health organizations acknowledge the Olympics are taking place during the nation’s winter months—between Aug. 5 and Sept. 18—which means fewer active mosquitoes, but the warnings are still in place.

To help travelers who must visit Brazil for the Olympic Games, the World Health Organization has offered several tips to reduce the possibility of being infected or spreading the virus. For male athletes and workers thinking about becoming a father, practicing safe sex or abstaining from sex during the trip to Brazil will help stop the spread to their female partners.

All visitors are being warned to practice safe sex or abstain during their stay in Brazil and for at least four weeks after the end of their trip. In addition, all travelers should avoid impoverished and crowded zones in Brazil that could be at a higher risk for the Zika virus.

For anyone participating or viewing the Games in Rio, the World Health Organization recommends using insect repellent, wearing light clothing covering most of their bodies and consulting a doctor before leaving Brazil.


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