The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that pregnant women reconsider any travel plans to the 2016 Olympic Games, taking place in Brazil this August to September, due to the current Zika outbreak in the country. CDC is also recommending that couples who are thinking about getting pregnant, be on alert if they are travelling to the Games.
Reuters advises an advisory was sent out on behalf of the CDC, recommending that women think about refraining from travel to the Olympics this year. The advisory also stated that if a women’s male partner does end up attending the games, there is a risk that Zika could be sexually transmitted.
This is the first statement from the CDC with explicit warnings for travelers to refrain from travel to the Olympics, taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Organizers anticipated approximately 400,000 tourists to attend, from all parts of the globe. While the games are approximately six or so months away, authorities in Brazil have been busy organizing mosquito-control initiatives to decrease risk to those who are attending the 2016 Olympics.
Regardless, the outbreak in this region has created concern for those planning on attending the games, and the advisory sent out by the CDC has added an element of pressure for organizers who have tried to downplay health concerns, so as not to jeopardize their event’s attendance.
Unfortunately, there are so many questions around Zika still, including a possible link to the birth defect in infants known as microcephaly; a developmental disorder, where babies are born with unusually small heads. Brazil has confirmed over 580 microcephaly cases, and believes most of those reported are linked to Zika infections from pregnant moms. The country is also looking into another 4,100 suspected microcephaly cases.
While Zika is passed on by mosquitoes, pregnant women could also be at risk via sexual transmission, and the CDC is strongly recommending that females abstain from sex while pregnant, or use condoms. In addition, CDC is also advising those women who are thinking about conceiving to talk to their doctor before travelling. These travel recommendations from the CDC, as it relates to the Olympics, are on par with the agency’s current guidelines for those considering travel to any of the Latin American countries that are suffering with the Zika illness.