Could traveling to Rio Olympics cause global health disaster?

Published on : Friday, May 13, 2016

rioRio de Janeiro is all set to welcome its international delegates and other tourists from all across the globe for its 2016 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, the doctors have warned that it could spark a “full-blown public health disaster”.



In May 2015, the Zika virus was first identified in Brazil which then spread through Latin America has been declared a health emergency by the World Health Organisation. After then, the maximum reported suspected cases were in Rio than in any state of the country.



With the continued presence of the virus ahead of the summer Olympics, athletes and health specialists are sceptical about the risks involved in allowing the Games to go ahead with hundreds of thousands of spectators travelling to the city.


In the review by Dr Amir Attaran of Harvard Public Health Review said that the Games could speed up and can spread the virus. He also suggested that the Games, if shifted to any other city could lower the risk of threat of this illness.


He is intimadated with the fact that Brazil’s Zika will inevitably spread globally.

“In particular, it cannot possibly help when an estimated 500,000 foreign tourists flock into Rio for the Games, potentially becoming infected, and returning to their homes where both local Aedes mosquitoes and sexual transmission can establish new outbreaks.  “All it takes is one infected traveller, a few viral introductions of that kind, in a few countries, or maybe continents, would make a full-blown global health disaster.”


Mired in a string of controversies, the warning will be yet another blow to Brazilian authorities, who are undermined for their ability to host the Olympics. What adds to this is the steeping economic decline continuing a presidential impeachment attempt alongside the country’s largest ever corruption scandal has caused national outrage.


Collapse of a new cycle path which killed two people, severe water pollution problem and gang violence fuelled scepticism about the suitability of Rio to host the Games.

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