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Disinfected zones may protect athletes from Zika virus at Rio Olympics — Russian PM’s aide

February 02, 20:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
So-called demarcation zones can be created around accommodation centers and competition venues, Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s former chief sanitary doctor says
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© AP Photo/Leo Correa

MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Special demarcation zones may be established in Brazil in order to protect athletes competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio from catching Zika fever virus raging in the country, an aide to the Russian prime minister said on Tuesday.

"So-called demarcation zones can be created around accommodation centers and competition venues," said Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s former chief sanitary doctor. "Mosquitos have flight ranges of up to three kilometers, therefore, all their habitats should be disinfected to ensure safety."

He said protecting athletes from Zika virus is easier than tourists as they live in isolated Olympic villages during the Games.

Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda in East Africa.

Zika outbreaks were recently registered in Asia, Africa, South and North Americas, and in the Pacific region. In the western hemisphere, the disease spreads very quickly, the virus has penetrated 21 of 55 countries, though last May the infected were registered in Brazil only.

The virus, transmitted by mosquitos, causes high temperature, pink eye, headaches and malaise, joint pains, sometimes nausea and stomach pains.

The virus, which has no preventative vaccine, often shows no signs of symptoms in adults but it can be extremely dangerous to unborn children. Thousands of women infected with Zika virus have given birth to babies affected by microcephaly and other defects.

The Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be held between August 5 and 21.

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