BOA monitoring Zika virus outbreak amid warnings from World Health Organization

Published: Friday 29th January 2016 by The News Editor

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The British Olympic Association says it will continue to carefully monitor the Zika virus in Brazil amid World Health Organisation warnings that the current outbreak could soon be declared an international emergency.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Thursday he will be writing to all national Olympic bodies advising on how best to confront the virus, which WHO says is spreading “explosively” in the South American country – the host nation of this summer’s Games.

The virus is primarily passed through mosquito bites and has been linked to birth defects and neurological problems. A meeting among health officials on Monday will determine whether to upgrade the level of the threat posed by the outbreak.

A BOA spokesperson said: “For the British Olympic Association, we have no higher priority than the safety and health of our athletes and delegation.

“In the light of the growing Zika virus outbreak we have reminded sports to follow the travel medicine advice issued to them over recent months regarding travel to Brazil for training and competition purposes.

“As a normal part of Team GB’s overall planning our medical team has been liaising with specialists in this area to ensure that prospective team members are given the most up-to-date travel medicine advice, which includes information on bite prevention strategies.

“This information will be continually reviewed, updated and shared prior to departure for the Olympic Games, in conjunction with sports’ own medical teams.

“We will also continue to monitor the situation on the ground in Rio over the coming months, staying in close contact with Rio 2016, the IOC and our contacts at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

Bach said the IOC is working in close contact with the Brazilian authorities to make sure the most up-to-date information regarding the virus and its prevention are disseminated to the relevant international bodies.

However, both Bach and officials in Rio have stressed that the Games are taking place during the country’s winter, when the virus is not considered to be at its most prevalent.

Published: Friday 29th January 2016 by The News Editor

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