U.S. Athletes Should Consider Not Attending Rio 2016 Olympics : Brazilian officials say they suspect Zika is behind a seemingly unusual number of microcephaly cases, in which children are born with unusually small heads. The link is not confirmed, but it has helped prompt the World Health Organization to declare an emergency over the virus. More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday, as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas.

Rio 2016 Olympics
Rio 2016 Olympics

Many women struggle to find abortion providers even when they meet strict legal requirements and illegal abortions are widespread. On Friday, local media reported the first abortion because of Zika infection. Still, it may be too soon to expect a microcephaly spike as the pregnant women who have been diagnosed with Zika haven’t delivered their children yet.

Zika Virus : U.S. Athletes Should Consider Not Attending Rio 2016 Olympics if Fear Zika

The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. By Daniel Bases and Joshua Schneyer NEW YORK, Feb 8 : The United States Olympic Committee told US sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. Federations were told no one should go to Brazil “if they don’t feel comfortable going – bottom line,” said Donald Anthony, president and board chairman of USA Fencing.

The message was delivered in a conference call involving USOC officials and leaders of U.S. sport federations in late January, according to two people who participated in the call. Olympics officials “are taking the right approach from a standpoint of, let’s be cautious, do not do anything that is going to put anybody, our staff or our athletes in danger”, Global health authorities suspect the mosquito-borne Zika virus has caused a spike in Brazil of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head.

As a result, the World Health Organisation declared an international health emergency on February 1, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising pregnant women or those considering becoming pregnant to avoid travel to places with Zika outbreaks. Recalling the conference call, Anthony, a former Olympian, said: “One of the things that they immediately said was, especially for women that may be pregnant or even thinking of getting pregnant, that whether you are scheduled to go to Rio or no, that you shouldn’t go.”

With global concern over the Zika virus growing, health officials are warning pregnant women to be careful about who they kiss and calling on men to use condoms with pregnant partners if they have visited countries where the virus is present.