The World Health Organization has rejected the idea of relocating the 2016 Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro due to the Zika virus, saying that moving the competition would “not significantly alter” the proliferation of the disease, according to The Guardian.
“All the information available today...suggests that the Games should definitely go ahead,” the WHO’s Bruce Aylward told the BBC, while also reiterating that pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should not travel to areas with high concentrations of Zika outbreak.
On Friday, 150 health experts and scientists sent an open letter to the WHO calling for Rio 2016 to be moved or postponed because of the virus.
The letter said that the 2016 Olympics Games should be moved “in the name of public health.” The Zika virus is highly prevalent in Brazil, and has been linked to neurological disorders in adults in addition to causing numerous serious problems for pregnant women. Studies have linked the virus to serious birth defects, like microcephaly.
The virus is mostly transferred through mosquito bites, but can also spread through sexual contact.
The International Olympic Committee has previously said that the Games will not be delayed or moved because of Zika.
The U.S. Olympic Committee said the decision to travel to Brazil amid Zika concerns is up to the athletes individually. Earlier this month, Major League Baseball canceled a series between the Pirates and Marlins in Puerto Rico due to concerns over Zika.
The Olympics are scheduled to begin in August.
- Stanley Kay