By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Visitors who wish to see the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later on this year should not fear being contaminated by the Zika virus, said general director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, on Wednesday while on an official visit to Brazil to assess the actions taken by the government in regards to combating the mosquito which carries the virus.
“Brazil is not a newcomer when it comes to organizing big events. Our specialists have been meeting with the government and the local Olympic Committee to develop a solid plan to control the vectors (of diseases),” Chan told reporters.
She noted that August and September, when the games are scheduled, is winter time in Brazil, and a much drier time of year. The drier weather hinders the proliferation of the mosquitos which carry the virus.
“The Brazilian government and the Olympic Committee have made a commitment to work together to guarantee that the Games are enjoyable for participants, visitors and athletes,” she concluded.
Along with Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Castro, Chan visited Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, in Rio de Janeiro, one of the main health research centers in the country. According to Castro the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquitos decline drastically during the months of July and August and the government is confident that with the actions currently underway to destroy the breeding grounds of these mosquitos there is no need to worry.
“The efforts this year by the federal, state and local governments in addition to that of society as a whole, have been like never before,” he concluded.
Earlier in the day, Chan visited the capital of Pernambuco, Recife, the state with the largest recorded number of microcephaly cases linked to the Zika virus.