A normal traveller wouldn’t have much troubles obeying travel advisories. Even if it’s a long-time dream, compromising your health is not a splendid long-term plan. But if you’re an Olympian, travel advisories become a significantly big deal.
World governments, including the United States, have warned that travel to South American countries place travellers at high risk of Zika infection. Relatives of paralympic athletes participating in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, especially those who are pregnant, must reconsider their travel plans.
The illness initially caused by the Zika virus carried by mosquitoes is minimal. It’s link to microcephaly as a long-term disease effect is the biggest risk pregnant women face.
“We know Zika and microcephaly are associated, although we do not yet have definitive proof that Zika infection alone is the cause of microcephaly,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said at a press briefing, adding that “the evidence for this is getting stronger by the day.”
With 117 known diagnosed cases, Puerto Rico has roughly half the total for the United States and its territories, Frieden said.
“Today it’s been six weeks to the day from CDC’s first announcement and travel briefing about Zika,” he said. “For the American public, the bottom line hasn’t changed from the time of our initial announcement. If you’re pregnant, avoid travel to a place where Zika is spreading. If you’re in a place such as Puerto Rico where Zika is spreading, do everything you can to avoid mosquito bites. The most severe risk is to pregnant women.”