The following statement has been released by the IOC this month in relation to ongoing concerns about the mosquito-borne Zika Virus which has spread through much of the Americas.

All Australian weightlifting competitors, their families and fans should read the following before heading to Rio for the Games.

“A plan has already been put in place for the Games venues in the lead-up to and at Games time, which will see them inspected on a daily basis in order to ensure that any puddles of stagnant water – where the mosquitos breed – are removed, therefore minimising the risk of athletes and visitors coming into contact with mosquitos.

Rio 2016 will also continue to follow the virus prevention and control measures provided by the authorities, and will provide the relevant guidance to Games athletes and visitors. 
It is also important to note that the Rio 2016 Games will take place during the winter months of August and September, when the drier, cooler climate significantly reduces the presence of mosquitos and therefore the risk of infection. 

In general, the Brazilian authorities are also taking significant steps to deal with Zika, as they have recently announced that over 200,000 members of the armed forces and health workers will be engaged across the country, going from house to house to distribute leaflets and dispense advice about how to combat the mosquitos and the virus. 

The current advice to those visiting areas with Zika is:

  • All travellers to areas with active Zika transmission should take mosquito bite avoidance measures, during both daytime and night-time hours (but especially during mid- morning and from late afternoon to dusk, when the mosquitos are most active). These measures include wearing appropriate clothing with long trousers and sleeves, and using insect repellents. Travellers should get additional advice from their local health authorities.
  • Women who are planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider, to assess the risk of infection with the Zika virus and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures.
Although the WHO currently does not recommend any change to travel plans, some national authorities, on a precautionary basis, have recommended that pregnant women should consider avoiding travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is occurring. If travel is unavoidable, or they live in areas where the Zika virus is reported, they should take scrupulous insect bite avoidance measures.”