A group of 125 prominent scientists, doctors and medical ethicists released a letter calling for this summer’s Olympic Games to be postponed or moved from Rio de Janeiro because of the ongoing Zika virus outbreak in Brazil.
In a letter directed to World Healthiness Organization Director Dr. Margaret Chan, the group said that brand-new findings concerning the Zika virus must result in the games being moved or postponed to safeguard the thousands of athletes, staff and reporters scheduled to attend the games.
“Currently, several athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling along with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 Games,” the group wrote. “We agree along with the U.S. Centers for Health problem Control recommendation that workers must ‘Think about delaying travel to areas along with energetic Zika virus transmission’. If that recommendations were followed uniformly, no athlete would certainly have actually to opt for between risking Health problem and participating in a competition that several have actually trained for their whole lives.”
brand-new write-up concerning the Zika virus was cited by the group in the letter as another requirement to postpone or move the games. The Health problem has actually been found to induce the birth defect microcephaly in pregnant women and has actually additionally been linked to an immunological reaction called Guillain-Barré syndrome.
“That while Zika’s risk to any type of single specific is low, the risk to a population is undeniably high. Currently, Brazil’s government reports 120,000 probable Zika cases, and 1,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (along with one more 3,300 under investigation), which is above the historical degree of microcephaly,” the group said.
The group of experts additionally pointed out that current mosquito-killing programs in Rio were ineffective and that as quickly as they looked at dengue fever, which is spread by the same mosquitoes that spread Zika virus, the infections were up markedly in 2016 compared to the previous two years.
The group additionally claimed the that had a conflict of interest because of a decades-long partnership along with the Global Olympic Committee and said previous statements by that officials have actually been “troubling.”
“To prejudge that ‘there’s not going to be a great deal of problems,’ prior to reviewing this evidence [on Zika virus effects] is really inappropriate of WHO, and suggests that a modification in leadership might be needed to restore WHO’s credibility,” the group wrote.
The that and the Global Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
Art Caplan, director of the NYU Division of Medical Ethics and co-author of the letter, told ABC News that the group was not alleging any type of wrongdoing by the that or IOC however wanted to bring up these complications to spark a dialogue concerning the risks involved and encourage Healthiness officials unrelated to the Olympics to weigh in.
“Just what we’re truly focused on is can easily we have actually transparent, open, frank, televised, out-in-the-open discussion along with experts” unconnected to the Olympics, Caplan said. “We believe that is close to the IOC. … They job with each other a lot.”
The big fear, Caplan said, is that the giant sporting event will certainly permit the transmission of the virus through infected travelers to others sections of the globe that have actually yet to be affected by the disease.
“We’re worried concerning bringing the mosquito spine to places it isn’t, adore India,” Caplan aid. “You have actually people that will certainly be infected and … there are people literally coming from everywhere.”
Earlier this month, the director of the that addressed Zika virus fears amid the Olympics, saying the that would certainly not call for the games to be moved however that they were using a “targeted approach” to decrease transmission and warning those most at risk not to visit the country.
“I do share the concern of some athletes and travelers and, as I said, it is quite much an specific decision,” Chan said at the time. “The role of that is to offer them along with support so they can easily make the right decision.”