“The health of our Team is paramount,” says the Australian Olympic Committee, after six people tested positive for the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Australia in 2015. Stating that tropical diseases will provide medical challenges in Rio and warning potential members of the Rio 2016 Olympic Team of the dangers especially of mosquito-borne diseases, the NOC emphasizes: “The AOC has a clear and unequivocal focus on the safety and welfare of members of the 2016 Australian Olympic Team. The Team Medical Director, Dr David Hughes, and his Team are monitoring the situation and offering advice to Team members. In RIO the whole of the Australian Olympic Team, athletes and officials, will be issued with mosquito repellent.
“We will be advising Team members to wear long sleeves in situations where they perceive a risk of mosquito bites particularly around stagnant water and heavy vegetation,” the AOC statement continues. “We will also be recommending that Team members living in the Village do not leave windows or doors open but rather use the air conditioning provide by the Organising Committee. All females of childbearing age need to be aware of the specific risks of microcephaly in newborns, should the mother become infected during pregnancy.”
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.