Many Olympic Athletes Contracted Diseases In Brazil, But Not Zika
Last year the Zika virus was infecting people in many regions of the world, mostly in Brazil. As you can remember, the 2016 olympic games were held in Rio, Brazil. This raised a dilemma for many olympic athletes who wanted to compete in the games, but did not want to risk Zika infection. Public health officials were warning against traveling to Brazil. Earlier in the 2016 year the World Health Organization had declared a global public health emergency. Despite the heightened risk of Zika infection in Brazil, the olympic games commenced as scheduled with the athletes in attendance. Luckily, the risk of contracting the Zika virus turned out to be lower than experts had estimated. Amazingly, not a single olympian became infected with the Zika virus. However, several olympians still contracted mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile, Dengue and Chikungunya.
Dr. Krow Ampofo tested olympic athletes for the Zika virus. He was pleased to find that none of the athletes had contracted Zika, but he was surprised to learn that several had contracted other disease that are spread by the same mosquito that spreads Zika. The WHO also tested olympic athletes and found no cases of Zika infection. However, Dr. Krow Ampofo possessed the largest body of medical test results. He planned on presenting his results at an infectious disease conference in San Diego.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of two thousand athletes, coaches and support staff traveled to Brazil last year to take part in the olympic games. Of those two thousand people, four hundred and fifty seven individuals submitted blood tests. These volunteers also filled out surveys that had asked athletes about the different locations in the country that they had visited. Although none of the volunteers had become infected with Zika, seven percent of the volunteers had contracted other mosquito-borne diseases. Twenty seven people contracted the West Nile virus, three people contracted Chikungunya, and two people contracted Dengue. The public health emergency that had been declared in Brazil ended in May of 2017.
Do you think that it was irresponsible of the olympic athletes to disregard the WHO’s recommendations by traveling to Brazil?