Zika is not a reason for missing the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro: response to the open letter of Dr Attaran and colleagues to Dr Margaret Chan, Director - General, WHO, on the Zika threat to the Olympic and Paralympic Games


Attaran and colleagues in an open letter to WHO expressed their concern about the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the threat posed by the Zika epidemic (Attaran 2016). We agree that Zika virus is of great public health concern and much remains to be known about this disease. Care should be taken to reduce the risk of infection, especially to pregnant women. However, we argue that this is not sufficient reason for changing the original plans for the Games, in particular because of the time of the year when they will take place. The present article outlines several scientific results related to Zika and mosquito-borne infectious diseases dynamics that we believe ratify the current position of WHO in not endorsing the postponing or relocation of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games (WHO 2016).

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