Warning Over Zika Virus

Warning Over Zika VirusWarning Over Zika Virus

Olympic and tourism officials in Brazil downplayed risks for foreign visitors from the mosquito-borne Zika virus on Monday, even as the health ministry warned pregnant women to consult doctors before visiting the country amid a widening scare. Alarm over the virus, linked to a rising number of mental birth defects among children of mothers infected by it, comes two weeks before nationwide Carnival celebrations, a highlight of Brazil’s tourism calendar, reports Reuters Health. It also comes 200 days before Rio de Janeiro hosts the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics, the first in South America. Following a warning by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week that pregnant women should not travel to 14 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Latin America where the virus has spread, Brazil’s health ministry said pregnant women should seek medical advice before visiting. Despite the growing alarm, local officials in the run-up to the Olympics and Carnival say current measures to prevent the spread of Zika should be enough to ensure that tourists and locals minimize the chance of infection.