Aedes aegypti mosquitoes sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz institute in Brazil, Jan. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)The two-page note from the IOC medical commission repeated advice for travellers to take precautions against mosquito bites and for women who are planning to become pregnant to assess the potential risks of travelling to areas infected with the virus. "The IOC remains in close contact with the WHO to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance, from now through to Games time," the IOC statement said. "At the same time NOCs should consult with their national health authorities to get advice and guidance." The IOC did not say the Olympics were threatened in any way and made clear it expects the Aug. 5-21 games to be secure for athletes and visitors. "We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro," the statement concluded. The WHO, which declared Thursday that the Zika virus was "spreading explosively," will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts Monday to decide if the outbreak should be declared an international health emergency. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday announced a nationwide attack on the mosquito that spreads that Zika virus, vowing to "win this war" against the insect. The mosquito has been linked by Brazilian researchers to a seemingly sudden upsurge in cases of microcephaly, in which children are born with abnormally small heads. The virus has also been linked to the paralysis-causing Guillain-Barre syndrome. Brazilian researchers believe the strain of Zika may have entered Brazil with visitors arriving for the 2014 World Cup.
No threat of games being postponed, spokesperson says
The IOC said the WHO does not recommend any change to travel plans, but noted that some national authorities have recommended "on a precautionary basis" that pregnant women should consider avoiding travelling to areas infected by Zika. The IOC noted that plans had already been put in place by Brazilian organizers for daily inspection of Olympic venues to remove any puddles of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. "Rio 2016 will also continue to follow the virus protection and control measures provided by the authorities, and will provide the relevant guidance to games athletes and visitors," the statement said. Andrada, the Rio Games spokesman, said organizers held a conference call Friday with sponsors to explain preventive measures. He said officials had started inspecting the venues and already noticed an improvement. "In the beginning, the first few days of inspecting, we found a lot (of stagnant water)," Andrada said. "Now it's dropped dramatically." The Australian Olympic Committee said this week that any pregnant team members "need to consider the risks very carefully" before deciding whether to go to Brazil. The U.S. Olympic Committee said it was monitoring the situation through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the IOC, the WHO and infectious disease specialists. The European Olympic Committees said it was following events and also expects that each individual country "will be taking strict precautions and will be advised by their own health authorities." AP Sports Writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed.
"We're not even thinking of that. This has never been mentioned. No way."
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