During our Carnival (and since months ago) Brazil is living a huge concern: zika outbreak. Every single summer there’s always a huge concern about outbreaks. Outbreak it is always a concern, in fact.
But talking about outbreak risk in the same year and place the Games will be hosted, it’s a worldwide concern. And talking about outbreak risk in an underdeveloped nation, the chaos takes place. Between lots of unclicked Zika headlines, one of Forbes got my attention: “Zika Outbreak Means It Is Now Time To Cancel Rio Olympics“.
Wow, clicked. A sensacionalist title, in a reputed and non-specialized website, it must be a very important and relevant content. Will we really have to cancel the Games?
After the second paragraph, I stop considering it. I felt I was reading one of those really tendentious brazilian Political articles. I finished it disappointed and started a small Google research about Zika, to be sure i was not
crazy being hasty with my conclusions.
So, I sorted three excerpts of Forbes’ essay that I consider desnecessary, as:
“(…) young women cannot travel there safely (…) Who is going to go to Rio in the middle of a Zika outbreak? Not young women fans, who might get pregnant and risk giving birth to a child with a birth defect. Not male fans who are sexually active and risk transmitting the disease to a partner.”
First of all and most important: According to the last Epidemiological Warning, until January 30th there were 4783 suspected cases of microcephaly. Until last week, 709 cases have been discarded and 404 confirmed. Among these 404, 4,2% are related to Zika virus. So, for now, we have 17 cases of newborns with microcephaly associated to Zika virus.
Among the ones discarded, there are babies that don’t have microcephaly or have it because of non-infeccious reasons. Drugs and radiation are examples of facts that can induce to microcephaly.
There is no register either of people who remain contaminated after the disease. In a excerpt of Health’s Ministery: “According to applied studies in Polynesia, there is no evidence of the replication of the virus in breast milk samples as well as the disease can not be classified as sexually transmitted.”
In other words, there’s a lot to be studied, but for now there is no evidence that a not pregnant woman and your future baby take microcephaly risk, not even that your partner will trasmit the virus.
Anyway, since we are at Carnival holidays and nothing has been proven, let’s be carefull. Because we don’t know if saliva, urine and semen are contagious.
“Virus-carrying bugs attacking people in a city hosting a sports mega-event sounds like the basis of a Hollywood plot line. But this is no sci-fi or action movie. (…) The Zika virus is real.”
Yes, that was the kind of words used by Dr. Arthur L. Caplan to Forbes, to convince his readers that we are living the 7th Egypt plague. First of all, the Ministery explain that 8 of 10 infected people don’t have any symptoms. In this case, most of people that contract Zika Virus gets better without any register.
This can mean that there are thousand of unknown cases. But in the other hand it makes us believe that we are not talking about an Ebola similarity.
I’m not here to banalize the subject, which is very serious. But I think is meaningful to research and ponder the facts before publishing anything just because it is convenient. Mainly when it refers to a thousand’s – if not millions’ – opinion leader vehicle.
My main point and that encouraged me to post it in a swimming blog is: if Brazil is really in the way to public calamity, putting brazilian and world’s athletes in risk, cancel/postpone/transfer the Games, for sure! But reading this kind of article as Forbes one, it seems a way to try to convince people that countries as ours will never be able to host this such event.
“The IOC needs to either move the Games, postpone them, or cancel them. Prevention is the best course in the face of a serious threat to humanity.”
Reasonable or not, use the right arguments, please. While the IOC lets Brazil host tha Games, let’s make everything as posible to welcome everyone with the best structure and the carism only brazilian gets record of. And mainly – for the sake of people and pregnant: no outbreaks.
You also can read this article from NY Times.