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Olympics should be moved or postponed – Zika professor

Dois Irmaos (Two brothers) peaks are seen from the Tiki hostel in Cantagalo favela, in Rio de Janeiro. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Olympics should be moved or postponed – Zika professor

A leading Canadian public health professor says the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro should be postponed or moved to prevent the Zika virus causing a “foreseeable global catastrophe”.

University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran, writing in the Harvard Public Health Review, said: “Simply put, Zika infection is more dangerous, and Brazil’s outbreak more extensive, than scientists reckoned a short time ago. Which leads to a bitter truth: the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games must be postponed, moved, or both, as a precautionary concession.”

The warning is stark given their are just weeks until the start of the games.

According to CNN Attaran’s stance adds a growing chorus of concerns about the games being held in an area when Zika, the mosquito-borne virus, is flourishing despite widespread public health attempts to stop it.

The Zika virus has been shown to cause a rare birth defect known to result in babies born with abnormally small heads and other neurological problems.

The International Olympic Committee said there were no plans to change the Games’ location.

“I want to reassure you that the government is working very closely with the international Olympic movement, with the local organising committee, supported by the WHO, to make sure we have a very good work plan to target the mosquito and to make sure that people who will come here either as visitors or athletes will get the maximum protection they need,” IOC spokesman Andrew Mitchell said.

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