Zika Rio Olympics to charge teams for mosquito screens to prevent virus

Philip Wilkinson, Spokesman for the Rio 2016 organizing committee, said the screens, would be installed in communal areas "where required" but only affixed to lodging if national delegations decide to pay for it.

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Rio Olympics to charge teams for mosquito screens to prevent Zika play

Rio Olympics to charge teams for mosquito screens to prevent Zika

(Reuters)
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Olympics organizing committee, said on Monday in Rio de Janeiro, that it would charge national delegations to have mosquito screens on athletes' rooms.

It said that this measure has become imperative because athletes are increasingly concerned about the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil.

Philip Wilkinson, Spokesman for the Rio 2016 organizing committee, said the screens, would be installed in communal areas "where required" but only affixed to lodging if national delegations decide to pay for it.

"The screens’’, is one measure Brazilians are using to help ward off the mosquito that is the primary transmitter of Zika,

He, however said that even though the committee has not placed a price on the screen, yet low-end screens attached to windows with Velcro can cost as little as 15 dollars while more rigid and durable screens can cost over 100 dollars, market price.

Wilkinson said a growing number of international athletes in recent weeks have expressed deep concern about Zika, a virus that has been linked in Brazil to more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly.

He said the link has led the World Health Organisation to declare the Zika outbreak a global emergency.

Wilkinson said WHO, director has warned during his Brazil that the virus should not affect international travel nor prevent a successful Olympics in Brazil.

"But it has said that effective control of mosquitoes is the most important means of stopping transmission.

Wilkinson said Olympic organizers in Rio are following WHO recommendations.

He said the game venues and major tourist attractions would be inspected daily during the games, which start Aug. 5 and end Aug. 21, to ensure there are no puddles or other possible breeding grounds for the insects.

Wilkinson said organisers would make mosquito repellent available in lodging areas and that all athletes' rooms would be air conditioned.

"Still, some delegations are taking extra steps to protect their athletes.

It said the infections known as Aedes aegypti, can be as bad in August of some years as they are during what would normally be peak months for infections in others.

It noted that so far this year, possibly because of warmer-than-usual weather, local infections of dengue, a virus related to Zika, are far worse than in 2015.

City officials said doctors have reported more than 6,000 cases of Zika in Rio since January.

Brazil's national government said as many as 1.5 million people may have been infected across the country.

Meanwhile, Australia's Olympic team said it had signed a sponsorship deal with a repellent maker to supply its athletes with the deterrent.

Marcus Freire, Executive Director Brazilian Olympic Committee, said its committee has already decided to pay for the screens in the lodging for its more than 400 athletes.

He said it has also required that Nike Inc , its official supplier, for more long-sleeve apparel to help athletes protect themselves.

Brazilian and Olympic officials have sought to dispel concerns about Zika in August by saying that the month mid-winter in the southern hemisphere - is typically a time when there are fewer mosquitoes in Rio.

But an undisclosed source revealed that recent review of municipal health data showed that other infections spread by the same mosquito.

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