Australia warns athletes against Zika Virus at Rio Olympics

SYDNEY : Australia’s Olympic athletes were on Wednesday told to take precautions against Zika-carrying mosquitoes at the Games in Brazil, with officials advising them to consider whether to travel to Rio de Janeiro if pregnant.

A surge in babies suffering from microcephaly, in which children have abnormally small heads, born to women infected with Zika has prompted warnings from Australia and other governments about travelling to affected countries.

In Brazil, Zika virus infections in pregnant women have been linked to 3,893 births of babies with microcephaly compared to an average of about 160 a year, the World Health Organisation has said.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said the health of its team was “paramount”.The Olympic Games begin on August 5.

The AOC said athletes and officials would be given mosquito repellent, and told to wear long sleeves when they were at risk of bites from the insects such as in areas with stagnant water.

Athletes living in the Games village are to be advised to keep their windows and doors closed and use air conditioning.



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