Health officials predict Zika virus will not affect 2016 Olympics



The World Health Organization has reported an increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome cases in Zika outbreak areas, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela. (Photo courtesy Fotolia/TNS)

The virus was at first know to cause issues including Guillain-Barre syndrome, microcephaly, and other rare but severe conditions. Recently, health officials have determined that the virus leads to extreme measures including paralysis.

Director of USC’s Institute of Emerging Pathogens and Immune Diseases Jae Jung said, “If we were sending athletes to the Olympics right now, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Six months down the road is different.”

Health officials believe the Zika virus threat numbers should have exponentially decreased by the time the 2016 Olympics occur. They believe this because the mosquito population will decrease during the ‘winter time’ in the southern hemisphere.

Executive director of the World Health Organization’s outbreaks and emergency health cluster Dr. Bruce Aylward said, “Brazil is going to have a fantastic Olympics, and it’s going to be a successful Olympics, and the world is going to go there.”

As little as a few weeks ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Zika is a public health emergency. The virus had infected much of the Americas. Brazilians have launched multiple mosquito eradication programs.

Freshman Edward Wade said, “We shouldn’t be too worried about the virus; we should be more focused on how lucky we are to still have the Olympics because they almost changed the location.”