zika virus

WHO: no point delaying or moving Olympics, Zika already rampant

Responding to a call from more than 100 leading scientists, who said it would be unethical for the Games to go ahead as scheduled, the United Nations health agency on Saturday (local time) said having the Games in Rio as planned would “not significantly alter” the spread of Zika, which is linked to serious birth defects.

“Based on the current assessment of Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games,” the WHO said in a statement.

In a public letter posted online on Friday, around 150 leading public health experts, many of them bioethicists, said the risk of infection from the Zika virus was too high for the Games to go ahead safely.

The letter, sent to WHO director-general Margaret Chan, said the Games, due to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August, should be moved to another location or delayed.

“An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic,” the letter said.

But the WHO rejected the call, saying Brazil “is one of almost 60 countries and territories” where Zika has been detected and that people continued to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. Read more »

Olympics, Zika and half a million free condoms in a Catholic country

Obviously the Brazilian’s don’t think that every sperm is sacred.

About 450,000 condoms will be distributed during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, three times more than for the London Games four years ago, the International Olympic Committee says.

Part of the reason was because 100,000 female condoms will be available for the first time, along with 350,000 condoms for men. About 175,000 packets of lubricant are also being supplied.   Read more »

Do our scientists and health professionals know anything about Zika?

First it was something that happened overseas.  

Then we had some cases come to New Zealand. Then we discovered it could be spread through sex. Then we got one case that started here, and now we hear our mosquitoes are capable of transmitting the disease.

This doesn’t inspire confidence.

Brazilian scientists have found one of the 15 species in this country can be infected with the virus in the laboratory.

More studies were being done to find out whether the mosquitoes could transmit zika in the wild.   Read more »

Will Zika kill the Olympics? Can it be moved?

Could the Olympics be in trouble because of the Zika virus?

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has told sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Olympic Games in August in Rio de Janeiro.

The message was delivered in a conference call involving USOC officials and leaders of US sport federations in late January, according to two people who participated in the hook-up.

Federations were told no one should go to Brazil “if they don’t feel comfortable going — bottom line”, said Donald Anthony, president and board chairman of USA Fencing.

The USOC’s briefing to sport federations is the latest sign Olympics officials are taking the Zika threat to the Rio Games seriously, and acknowledges at least some athletes and support staff could face a tough decision over whether to attend.   Read more »

Zika turning into a bit of a debacle – you can’t even kiss now

The Zika virus is sounding pretty nasty, and now kissing is off the agenda.

Scientists identified the Zika virus in the saliva and urine of two infected patients, a top Brazilian biomedical research institution said on Friday, prompting its president to urge pregnant women not to kiss strangers just as local carnival celebrations begin.

The discovery added to the rising concern over Zika, which is spreading rapidly in the Americans and has been linked to thousands of severe birth defects in Brazil.

They said they used genetic testing to identify the virus in saliva and urine samples from two patients who had symptoms caused by Zika infection, and determined that the virus was active, meaning it had the potential to cause infection, scientists at the public Oswaldo Cruz Foundation said.

They said more research was needed to determine whether Zika could be transmitted by either fluid.   Read more »

Multiple cases of Zika infections in New Zealand – this is what you need to know

1. You’re safe.  Mostly.

Read more »

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