Ja athletes will be protected at Olympics!


July 18, 2016
Yohan Blake
Elaine Thompson

Deputy Head of Mission at the Brazilian Embassy in Jamaica, Diana Jorge Valle, said several efforts are being made to protect Jamaican athletes from the Zika virus when they visit that country for the Olympics.

Valle said the Brazilian government has been engaged in intensive prevention, control, and training activities to fight the virus.

The Brazilian official noted that all proper measures to fight the Aedes Aygyptai mosquito are still in effect to safeguard against a resurgence of the virus. Additionally, 3,000 health agents are on standby to give assistance.

"Over the past months, rumours of the possibility of an outbreak of tropical disease during the games have been a source of concern. We can assure you, as did the World Health Organisation, that the risk of ZikV infection during the Games is (minimal)," she said.

She said that a national plan was launched by the Brazilian authorities to combat the virus.

laboratory testing

This, she said, included an extensive public awareness campaign which targets pregnant women and women of childbearing age on the effects of the virus; increased laboratory testing to detect the virus by several national agencies; and training of health practitioners.

Among the activities to fight the virus was the purchase of 100 tons of larvicides, and insecticide to kill the mosquito at its larval stage of development.

There has been an increase from 43,900 to 309,900 in the number of health workers deployed to visit households and public facilities with the support of 50,000 military officials.

Other activities include cleaning campaigns run by the 1,200 military organisations throughout Brazil.

Additionally, a Travellers' Health website with information on the Zika virus and other pertinent information translated in English, Portuguese, and Spanish has been established.

Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Michael Fennel, said the association has been receiving regular reports from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) about efforts by the Brazilian authorities to contain the virus.

"The association is satisfied that all the necessary measures have been taken to ensure that the health concerns are not of a major proportion, and should not deter anyone from competing well and enjoying themselves in Rio for the Olympic Games," Fennel said.