The Olympic Games in Rio should be cancelled - Now!
Date: February 2016
Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA
It is outrageous that the authorities in Brazil are still planning to hold the Olympic Games this coming August. The games should be abandoned immediately.
Moreover, flights in and out of Brazil and other countries where the Zika virus is found should be suspended.
The World Health Organisation has already declared the outbreak of the Zika virus to be a global emergency (putting it into the same category as Ebola), and things aren’t going to improve in the short or medium term.
The mosquito borne virus has infected millions so far, and the number of individuals involved is rising daily. The number infected in Brazil has already soared to over 1.5 million.
Doctors now believe that there is a link between the virus and a condition called microcephaly, and to date there have been well over 4,000 suspected cases of this disorder in Brazil.
Microcephaly is a nightmare disease for all those involved since babies born with it have very small heads and arrested brain development. The human and financial cost of dealing with thousands of microcephalic infants is impossible to measure.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there is as yet no way to treat the disease or to prevent it spreading.
We know that it is carried by mosquitoes but it also seems likely that it might spread from person to person. There is already some evidence that it can be passed from one individual to another through sexual intercourse.
If the Olympic Games go ahead, hundreds of thousands will travel to Rio and there is no doubt whatsoever that the Zika virus will be brought back to Europe and carried to every other country on the planet. That is far too high a price to pay just so that a few drug soaked professional athletes can share a bunch of shiny medals.
Pregnant women, and women contemplating pregnancy, should campaign now to halt the Olympics while doctors work out how best to combat the Zika virus. This is the only way to limit the spread of the infection around the world.
If the Olympics are held as planned, the Zika infection will almost certainly cause massive long-term misery throughout the world.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2016