Mexico’s Olympic delegation to take specialists to Rio Olympics due to Zika fears

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Reuters) — The Mexican delegation that will attend the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be accompanied by medical specialists in epidemiology to advise athletes before, during and after the sporting event due to the Zika virus outbreak.

Brazil is the country most affected by the virus, which has spread rapidly through the rest of the continent.

“There will be work done during the Olympic Games, I repeat, two doctors specializing in epidemiology will be travelling with the Mexican delegation, where we will be providing information and advice for better healthcare, early detection in situations of health risks, detection of cases in case of epidemiological surveillance, continuous recommendations centered on different sports and disciplines. And afterwards, once the Olympic Games are over and we are counting the medals, I hope we get, we will also carry out evaluations,” Dr. Cuitlahuac Ruiz, managing director of epidemiology at the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday (March 30).

The Rio Games, to take place between August 5 and 21, are the first organised in South America.

The Zika virus, which until recently was considered relatively harmless, has raised concerns about a possible link between infection during pregnancy and cases of microcephaly, a genetic malformation where babies are born with abnormally small heads and can cause developmental problems.

Brazil is investigating a possible link between Zika and more than 4,200 suspected cases of microcephaly, but has not confirmed if the virus can cause microcephaly.

On March 29 Brazil said it has confirmed 944 cases of microcephaly and considers most of them to be related to Zika infections in the mothers. The country said the

number of suspected cases of microcephaly stood at 4,291.

So far, Mexico has 77 confirmed athletes for the Olympic Games.