Olympians, Bikinis Found in Rio; Mosquitoes Elusive

Rio locals are continuing life as usual, despite the Zika hype. Since it is winter in Brazil, with temperatures ranging from 66 to 78 during the day, it is hard to find any mosquitos. Zika cases have dropped 93% since January. Dengue fever cases, which is also carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, have also dropped off with the onset of the colder temperatures. Nights are chilly with steady breezes.

The risk of infection is small. Estimates are that 3 to 37 people out of the hundreds of thousands attending will contract the virus in Brazil. Most who get infected will have no symptoms.

Those suggesting arriving in Rio with mosquito head nets show an ignorance of the real situation. People need to get informed, not just read fear-instilling articles. There are real risks, as the CDC urges pregnant women and those planning on becoming pregnant to not travel to Brazil. Tourists just need to be smart, using bug spray, wearing long sleeves, and condoms.

Because of previous hype and warnings, Olympians are protecting themselves from mosquitoes to different degrees. US soccer goalie Hope Solo has sequestered herself in the hotel, is wearing a head net, and has a stockpile of bug spray.  South Korean athletes will wear “Zika-proof” uniforms of long pants and jackets coated with bug repellent. Australian Olympians are bringing special “anti-Zika” condoms, even though traditional condoms will work just as well. Chinese gymnasts have mosquito nets around their beds, and US athletes have blankets infused with bug repellent. Some tennis and golf athletes simply opted out of the games due to the Zika threat.

Former US gymnast Carly Patterson, who is trying to become pregnant, opted out of working as a correspondent for Today due to Zika. Many companies are taking advantage of the Olympics to market bug spray, and Patterson is marketing an organic bug spray and handed out bottles to gymnasts at the US trials earlier this summer. Living in Texas, Patterson also fears the spread of Zika and recommends staying inside as much as possible and wearing bug spray.

Bailey, Melissa. “Despite Zika hype, bikinis — and no mosquitoes — on Rio’s beaches.” Health. STAT, 5 Aug 2016. Web. 7 Aug 2016.

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