IOC to advise national Olympic bodies on Zika virus

AP News
Posted: Jan 28, 2016 12:33 PM
IOC to advise national Olympic bodies on Zika virus

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The IOC will advise all national Olympic bodies on how to deal with the Zika virus ahead of the games in Rio de Janeiro.

IOC President Thomas Bach said Thursday the committee is in "close contact" with Brazilian authorities and the World Health Organization about the mosquito-borne virus.

The World Health Organization said Thursday the virus — which has been linked to birth defects and neurological problems — is "spreading explosively." The WHO will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts Monday to decide if the outbreak should be declared an international health emergency.

Bach said the IOC would send advice this week to all national Olympic committees.

He said the national bodies can then "inform all their athletes (about the safety guidelines) to show that we will do everything to ensure the heath of the athletes and all the visitors."

Bach spoke during a visit to Greece where he promoted a $2 million international assistance program for refugee athletes.

Bach said the fact that the Olympics will take place in August, during Brazil's winter, could mitigate the impact of the Zika outbreak.