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WHO Rejects Call To Postpone, Cancel Rio Olympics Because Of Zika Virus Threat

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The World Health Organization (WHO) rejected calls to postpone, cancel or relocate the 2016 Rio Olympics because of Zika virus threat.

In a statement released on May 28, the United Nations organization said that according to its present assessment, postponing or setting up a new location for the Olympics will not pose notable changes in the way Zika virus is spreading throughout the world.

WHO made the said statement, alongside its acknowledgement that Brazil, where Rio de Janeiro is located, is among the nearly 60 nations that continue to report current Zika virus transmissions.

Following Advice

Despite ongoing Zika reports, WHO says the best thing people can do now is to follow public travel health advice.

First and foremost, pregnant women are recommended not to travel to places where there is active Zika virus transmission. Partners of pregnant women returning from these places should be properly informed about safe sex and abstain from sexual intercourse during the entire duration of pregnancy. Particularly, affected people must use condoms or abstain from sex for a minimum of four weeks after return, especially if they develop Zika virus symptoms.

Each country has travel health advisories and people are expected to follow these recommendations prior to traveling.

People traveling to Zika-affected areas must use insect repellents during the day and wear light-colored clothing that can cover most parts of the body.

When booking for accommodations, choose air-conditioned rooms because these have doors and windows that are tightly closed so mosquitoes cannot enter.

Do not go to places where there is no piped water or that are unsanitary. Mosquitoes are more likely to breed here, increasing the risk of being bitten.

Authorities Collaborating

WHO is giving the government of Brazil continuous assistance and tips on how to further decrease the risk among Rio Olympics athletes and visitors. The organization particularly emphasizes interventions to help decrease the number of mosquito types that cause dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika virus.

"WHO will continue to monitor the situation and update our advice as necessary," the organization says.

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