Seeds: The Zika Virus, which once only plagued the Americas is slowly becoming a global outbreak. The virus is infamous for inconspicuously infecting people by means of the mosquito and sexual transmission. No effective treatments have been discerned, leaving prevention as the only defense. The virus is particularly frightening because a remarkable number of children born from infected mothers are born with microcephaly.
Core: The fact that the 2016 Olympics will be held in Brazil, the original site of the most recent Zika epidemic, is making many nervous about how the event will exacerbate the spread of the virus. Some argue that the games will take place in winter months, lessening the threat (mosquitos, a carrier of the disease, have more trouble surviving in wintertime). However, many fear that people will bring it back to their home countries and spread specifically by sexual transmission, as it has been proven that people tend to a bit more handsy while on vacation. Furthermore, the virus is already hard to detect as 80% of those infected do not show symptoms and the other remaining 20% may have fevers, rashes, joint pains, and red eyes that last for around 2-7 days.
Skin: While the public has been vocal about expressing their concerns, the players have been vocal too. For instance, big name players like Hope Solo and Rory Mcllroy have announced that they won’t be attending unless Brazil addresses the epidemic more effectively. The Olympic committee stated that the players would be allowed to skip the games if they pleased.
Leaves: As of now, the games won’t be cancelled, however the CDC strongly recommends that pregnant women avoid traveling to the areas affected by the virus, including the Olympics. Also, authorities are stressing that spectators and players should watch for symptoms for the first two weeks when they return home. Officials will inspect the venues every day during the games. Cases have already been confirmed in the US, however, none of them have been reported as local transmission (none of these people got Zika in the US).
Food For Thought: Do you worry that the Zika virus could become a significant problem in the United States? Do you think that the Olympians should refrain from attending the games? Do you think that the United States or other countries should do more to help afflicted countries?