Australia’s Jason Day may be the world’s best golfer, but you won’t see him or many other top golfers play at Rio 2016 — even though this is the first time golf has been featured in the Olympic Games since 1904.
Day is the latest golfer — and one of a growing list of world-class athletes — to withdraw from the Rio Olympics over fears about Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that causes flu-like symptoms in most cases, but has also been linked to serious birth defects. More than 26,000 cases of Zika have been reported in Rio de Janeiro so far this year, CNN reported.
“The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife’s future pregnancies and to future members of our family,” Day said in a statement published on his Twitter page. “Medical experts have confirmed that while perhaps slight, a decision to compete in Rio absolutely comes with health risks to me and to my family. … While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family.”
Although the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in February, the agency says there’s a “very low risk” that holding the Olympics in Rio will further spread the disease because the Summer Games take place in August, which is Brazil’s winter, when fewer mosquitoes are active. However, the WHO is advising pregnant women not to attend the Olympics.
CNN says just 702 Zika cases were confirmed in Rio in May, a sharp decline from February’s peak of 7,232 cases.
Here in the United States, summer is in full swing, and with the warmer temperatures come mosquitoes. Still, there’s no need to panic. According to Consumer Reports, here are three ways you can’t get Zika:
- Kissing: Although the virus has been found in saliva, so far, CR says there are no reported cases of Zika transmission through kissing.
- From a woman to a man during sex: Men who have Zika can pass the virus to their sexual partners during intercourse. Zika can actually live two months or longer in semen. “So far, there have been 11 cases of sexual transmission in the U.S., all of them between men returned from Zika-affected countries and their sexual partners,” CR says. But so far, vaginal swabs of infected women have been Zika-free and there are no known cases of an infected woman passing the virus to a sexual partner.
- Breast milk; Although pregnant women can pass the virus to their baby in utero (congenital transmission) or “around the time of birth” (perinatal transmission), CR says there are no known cases of Zika passing from a mother to her baby through breast milk. New moms in Zika-affected countries are “still encouraged to breast-feed,” says CR.
Read more about Zika here on the WHO website or in this WHO Q & A about Zika.
Find out how to protect yourself from mosquito bites with the 5 Best Repellents for Zika Virus Mosquitoes.
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