Brazil is betting on the Summer Olympics. August 2016 should bring needed revenue into their struggling economy. The country needs a financial boost and hosting the Olympics Games will certainly do that. But the United States Olympic Committee recently issued a statement that might hurt attendance, and that’s the last thing Brazil needs at this point in time. The United States Olympic Committee thinks competitors might want to reconsider attending the Olympics because of the Zika Virus outbreak according to Brazil’s Ministry of Health medical expert, Sergio Cortes.
Dr. Cortes has been posting news about the Zika virus regularly on his website, and this is not the kind of news Brazil needs. But Dr. Cortes understands the reason for the message. The Zika virus has infected millions of Brazilian since it was first discovered in the state Parnaiba in April 2015. The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the outbreak. The Aedes aegypti mosquito thrives in tropical climates, and this particular species is capable of breeding in clean water. Cortes said there are millions of breeding grounds in Brazil, and the government is taking steps to eradicate as many of the breeding grounds as possible.
The Zika virus has been around since the 1950s. Africa was the first continent to report cases of the virus. Then countries in Asia had a few cases, but for the most part, the virus was not considered life-threatening, so there was very little research done back then. The symptoms of the virus were similar to flu like symptoms that usually lasted for about seven days. But when the Zika virus started to reach the epidemic stage in Brazil, researchers started to see an increase in the number of microcephaly cases in the same area. Microcephaly is a disease that affects the brains of fetuses. Newborn babies are born with much smaller heads and underdeveloped brains.
The Olympic committee is concerned that the Zika virus is much more dangerous than previously thought. New research indicated that there is a connection between Zika and microcephaly. The research also indicates that the virus may stay in the human body for longer than seven days. Some researchers say the virus can lay dormant in the body for an unspecified amount of time. That fact and other facts about the Zika virus are on the Dr. Cortes LinkedIn page.
New information about the virus appears almost daily. Dr. Cortes tweets updates to his followers. The Sergio Cortes Facebook page also has comments about the relationship between microcephaly and the Zika virus.