Amir Attaran, a Canadian public health expert, is very worried about the 2016 summer Olympics that will begin this August; Zika virus that is currently plaguing Brazil. This is a mosquito-borne virus that has been directly linked to Microcephaly, a disorder in babies who are born with small skulls and brains, and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that can cause paralysis and even death.

 

Attaran makes his stance clear: “What is proposed is to bring half a million Olympic visitors into the heart of the epidemic.”

 

The state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is breaking records with 26,000 possible Zika virus cases to date. The reason they aren’t sure about this number is because they don’t have adequate healthcare infrastructure. The Rio Olympics is estimating about 500,000 foreign tourists. With this many bodies in such a prime location of the Zika Virus, Attaran fears that this would speed up the infection rate and also complicate developing a vaccine.

 

In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that Brazil was considered in a state of public health emergency and that they should push tourists away. However, WHO has since changed their stance; the Games will go on as planned in August, and there won’t be any restrictions on travel. Somehow, it was decided that there wasn’t enough justification for cancelling, delaying, or moving the Summer Olympics. Brazil’s winter begins in July which will help lower the count of mosquitos, before the games start in August and September.

 

Attaran left us with some chilling words,

“But where is the love for the possible victims of a foreseeable global catastrophe: the damaged or dead adults, and the babies for whom — and mark these coldly clinical words carefully — fetal brain disruption sequence is as terrible as it sounds, and extinguishes the hope of a normal life even before it has begun? With stakes like that, bluntly put, these Olympics are no game at all.”

 

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