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Does The Olympics In Rio Put The World In Danger Of Zika?

The Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro will be starting in about a week and the world is nervous about the Zika virus that can cause birth defects in newborn babies.

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“Nearly 200 scientists signed a letter to the World Health Organization last week, calling for the games to be moved because of the ongoing epidemic of Zika in Brazil. But many health officials — including those at WHO — say having the games in Rio doesn’t pose a big enough threat to warrant moving them. So who’s right?”

Epidemiologist Mikkel Quam has been working on creating “a mathematical model — and data from another outbreak in Rio — to estimate the chance spectators and athletes will get a mosquito bite for three weeks in August, when the games take place.”

“I was legitimately surprised,” says Quam, who works at Umea University in Sweden. “There’s very little mosquito activity during the Olympics.”

“Officials are expecting around 500,000 spectators and athletes. Then the model predicts, there will be — at most — 16 cases of Zika at the Olympics. So attendees are much more likely to get the flu or food poisoning at the games than Zika, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control concluded.” Read more.

 

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