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Athletes to undergo strict Zika testing on return, says DOH

/ 04:05 AM July 25, 2016

THE MEMBERS of the Philippine Team who will compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next month will undergo health screening when they return to the country to make sure they did not pick up the dreaded Zika virus.

The Department of Health (DOH) explained that this was because the threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus still existed in Brazil and some other South American countries. Zika is also known to be sexually transmitted.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, however, was quick to add that the threat should not prevent the Filipino athletes from participating in the quadrennial sporting event.

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“There is no real threat to our athletes… none of them are pregnant,” she said, adding that the athletes were given clearance to participate in the Olympics.

The Zika virus is dangerous for pregnant mothers because it could cause abnormalities in the unborn baby.

According to Ubial, the athletes will undergo the necessary screening procedures, including quarantine, upon their return from Brazil where the virus spread quickly.

At least 12 athletes will represent the Philippines in the Rio 2016 Olympics, which is set to run from Aug. 5 to 21.

“We will screen them when they get back — quarantine and blood test. If negative within 24 hours, they are free to go home,” said Ubial, explaining this was part of their precautionary measures due to the known prevalence of Zika in Brazil.

Brazil is one of the countries where the Zika virus has been transmitted. Because of this, several athletes from other countries have opted to skip the Olympics due to fears of contracting the disease.

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TAGS: Athletes, DOH, Zika testing, Zika virus
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