Monday February 1st, 2016

As the rapid spread of Zika virus has led the WHO to consider declaring the disease a global emergency, athletes preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics have raised concerns about staying in the region that is the epicenter for the virus.

According to the Associated Press, a number of Brazilian and Non-Brazilian athletes are planning to stay inside their hotels and stay away from water during the duration of the Olympic games to avoid the mosquito-bourne virus.

Brazilian wrestler Aline Silva, who has twice had dengue fever, a virus spread by mosquitos, said the disease is a big enough concern that she applies mosquito repellent every 90 minutes. 

“Really, the biggest problem is in training and competing—when I can't use it (repellent),'' Silva said. ''I have had dengue twice, so I am aware about all of this. Maybe I am more worried than most.”

Silva said that her fellow Brazilian athletes also share her concerns. 

Wrestlers from the American and Japanese teams also plan to stay in their hotels and wear long clothing. 

The disease, which is linked to a rare birth defect, could be a deterrent for the hundreds of thousands expect to travel to Brazil for the games. Olympic organizers will be  conducting daily checks of venues to look for standing water where mosquitos can breed. 


SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.