If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few months, you’ve likely heard the words “Zika virus” and “Rio Olympics” paired together often, both in the media and everyday conversations. With the 2016 Summer Olympics set to start in August, you may be wondering what’s going on — is Zika a threat to tourists and athletes in Brazil? Will the games be postponed or moved?
Some background first: in February, the World Health Organization officially declared the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness that has been linked to birth defects in thousands of babies, an International Health Emergency. Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes, according to the World Health Organization.
But because there’s this little event going on in August in Rio de Janeiro that’s expected to attract an estimated hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world, some are worried that all many of those people could pick up Zika and bring it back to their home countries.
It’s important to note that the WHO advises pregnant women to stay away from any countries and areas with ongoing Zika virus transmissions, including Rio de Janeiro. Their sexual partners are urged to practice extra safe sex (or abstain entirely) for a few weeks after returning from trips to Zika-affected locations.