Despite Zika Fears, No Confirmed Rio Olympics Cases
No new cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been confirmed by laboratories in anyone involved with the Olympics, the Associated Press reported.
The virus is relatively harmless to most people, causing about a week of unpleasant symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. If contracted by a pregnant woman, however, it has been linked to microcephaly, a severe birth defect that includes brain abnormalities. There have also been cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes paralysis.
The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and it can also be transmitted sexually. Some men can carry the virus in their sperm for up to six months.
The most recent epidemic first broke out in Brazil and caused alarm for spectators and athletes alike as Rio de Janeiro prepared to host the summer Olympics. U.S. women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo sparked controversy after posting a photo of herself on social media posing with a mask and a dozen bottles of mosquito spray with the hashtag “#zikaproof.” Brazilian fans later taunted the Olympian with chants of “Zika! Zika!”
As Olympians breathe a sigh of relief, the virus has continued its spread to Florida, where another new case was announced in Pinellas County, which includes St. Petersburg. Florida Gov. Rick Scott held a roundtable in Miami, Florida Friday to encourage people to dispose of standing water as a prevention tactic.
“I will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress on the day they return to work to make sure they immediately get something done on this urgent issue,” Scott said in a statement.
Jess McHugh is a digital reporter for Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @MchughJess.