Birmingham health chief Adrian Phillips has advised pregnant women not to travel to the Rio Olympic Games due to the risk of contracting the Zika virus.
Zika has been strongly linked to a rise in birth defects in Brazil and the World Health Organization has advised pregnant women not to travel to areas affected by the mosquito-borne virus.
Director of Public Health Dr Phillips has urged pregnant women in Birmingham to heed the advice, warning: “If you are pregnant the advice is very clear: postpone your travel if possible. If you absoluetly have to travel to Rio, please visit your doctor first to get all the advice you need for the trip.”
Anyone planning to attend the Olympics should:
- Follow the travel advice provided by Public Health England and consult a health worker before travelling.
- Buy a good quality insect repellent high in the ingredients DEET or Picardin before flying, and apply it before arriving at the venue, and to wear loose-fitting long-sleeved tops and trousers. Extra care should be taken as the Zika-carrying mosquitoes bite during the day and the night.
- Insect repellent should be bought in 100ml containers, the same size as those allowed through airport security, as they will also be allowed into the Olympic venues.
- Practice safer sex (for example, use condoms correctly and consistently) or abstain from sex during their stay and for at least 8 weeks after their return, particularly if they have had or are experiencing symptoms of Zika virus.
- Choose air-conditioned accommodation (where windows and doors are usually kept closed to prevent the cool air from escaping, and mosquitoes cannot enter the rooms).
- Avoid visiting areas in cities and towns with no piped water or poor sanitation (ideal breeding grounds of mosquitoes), where the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes is higher.`