Rio 2016 official: Zika no threat during Olympics

Christ the Redeemer
Getty Images

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Brazilian Olympic organizers have told the IOC that the risk of Zika infection will be dramatically reduced during the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.

Rio organizers made their final presentation to the IOC executive board on Thursday ahead of the Aug. 5-21 Olympics, which will take place during Brazil’s winter.

Organizing committee head Carlos Nuzman says the Brazilians showed the IOC a graphic illustrating that cases of the mosquito-born Zika virus drop significantly from June to September.

A group of 150 public health experts last week called for the Games to be postponed or moved because of Zika, which has been linked to severe birth defects. But the World Health Organization said there was “no public health justification” for such a move.

Nuzman says Zika poses “no public health risk” that would warrant calling off the Games. He says several leading athletes, including Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal and members of the U.S. basketball team, have said they have no worries about going to Rio.

MORE: Top U.S. cyclist says no Olympics due to Zika