The 2016 summer Olympics are fast approaching. Excitement and stress is rising fast in Rio as Brazil prepares to host the games. However, many are raising concern as millions of human bodies are unfortunately hosting the Zika virus! Brazil is at the center of the most recent Zika outbreak. When Zika hit Brazil in 2015, it did not cause much alarm as Zika’s symptoms are often mild and unnoticed. But this seemingly harmless microbe is now causing an international scare. This is largely due to a spike in cases of neurological disorders in newborns that have been linked to Zika.
Zika continues to spread and the World Health Organization estimates over 4 million infections in the Americas in the past 12 months! This sudden and frightening rise of Zika has prompted the WHO to declare a Public Health Emergency. U.S. officials advise that pregnant women or those wishing to have children in the near term should deter travel to Central and South America. Zika continues to spread north into Puerto Rico and may soon arrive on the US mainland. The race is on to develop a Zika vaccine, expected to be more than a year away. Everyone enjoys a good footrace, but perhaps you should enjoy this summer’s Olympics from the comfort of your living room. In case you do travel, keep a high quality mosquito net handy!