Zika What? Brazil’s biggest health scare not biting so far | Inquirer Sports

Zika What? Brazil’s biggest health scare not biting so far

The Olympic Village is reflected in an apartment window in Rio de Janeiro, AP

The Olympic Village is reflected in an apartment window in Rio de Janeiro, AP

RIO DE JANEIRO—Contrary to widespread fears during the weeks before the opening of the Rio Olympics, not a single case of Zika virus infection involving an athlete, official or a volunteer has been reported to the Games health office here.

A statement from Brazil’s ministry of health on Thursday, which the Inquirer later verified with the health desk of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (Ocog), said it had not received any health cases that would indicate a possible infection caused by the dreaded mosquito bite.

The Zika scare turned away some of the world’s biggest names in sports, including golf’s Big Four—Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

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Filipino golfers Angelo Que and Dottie Ardina qualified for the Games but also begged off at the last minute, saying they had serious health concerns over the reported Zika virus outbreak in Rio de Janeiro.

The mosquito that carries the Zika virus breeds in the tiniest pool of water and defies many of the insecticides deployed against it.

Zika virus infection in pregnant women can cause serious birth defects, according to the United States’ Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

But apart from Hong Kong swimmer Yvette Kong, who skipped Friday’s 200-meter breaststroke event after complaining of light-headedness and shortness of breath—two of the many symptoms of Zika virus infection—the Games health office has not received any related concern.

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After getting immediate medical attention in the Athletes Village, Kong later joined her teammates in the 4×100 medley relay at the Olympic Swimming Stadium.

She told a reporter for the South China Morning Post the problem had disappeared.

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“It seems the Zika virus scare ahead of the Rio Olympics had been blown out of proportion,” a Brazil television news reader said on Friday.

Instead of the virulent virus, South America’s first Olympic host is reeling from multiple security challenges.

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Worsening criminality in this Olympic city, a serious political crisis involving the country’s President, economic downturn and popular anger over corruption have all fueled rising civil unrest, according to news reports here.

TAGS: biting, Games, Zika, Zika virus

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