By Joshua Schneyer NEW YORK (Reuters) – Over the past few weeks, one U.S. marketing executive's phone has been ringing hot with offers that many sports fans could only dream of: an all-expenses-paid trip to watch the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next month. The marketing executive, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid harming business relationships, said he had turned down Rio due to prior commitments. “And when you have a souring market, which Brazil has become, the concept of entertaining at a high-profile event can also go sour.” For the host city, corporate entertainment is an important part of its plan to recoup part of its $12 billion (9.15 billion pound) in Games investment.
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. health agency says it and national authorities are investigating whether three cases of the Zika virus discovered in Guinea Bissau are of the same strain as the one behind outbreaks linked to head and brain abnormalities in Brazil and elsewhere.
(Reuters) – Brazil's Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani expects there to be almost no cases of the Zika virus during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, adding that the country is prepared for the Games, despite health concerns and political instability. The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee on Zika will meet in the coming weeks to evaluate the risks associated with the event. U.S. health officials have concluded that infections by the mosquito-borne Zika virus in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.
The World Health Organization has ruled out any change in timing or the location of the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, shunning a call by doctors and scientists to shift the event over the Zika virus. An open letter addressed to the global health body signed by 150 international doctors, scientists and researchers Friday had called for the August Games to be moved or delayed to help prevent the spread of Zika virus. Holding the Games in Rio, the second worst affected city in Brazil, would be “irresponsible” and “unethical” and could risk spreading the virus to “poor, as-yet unaffected places” like Africa and South Asia, said the letter.
By Silvio Cascione BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil's government launched a nationwide campaign on Saturday to fight the Zika virus, with President Dilma Rousseff and cabinet ministers personally visiting homes and handing out leaflets along with 220,000 troops. Under a scorching sun in the neighborhood of Zepellin in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Olympic Games in August, Rousseff said everyone needed to take part in the battle against the mosquito carrying Zika, suspected of causing the birth defect microcephaly. “Brazil and the world have lost the battle against dengue, but we won the war against yellow fever, which is carried by the same mosquito.
By Pedro Fonseca RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Authorities in Brazil said on Friday Zika has been detected in patients' saliva and urine, adding to the concern over the spread of the virus, while U.S. officials offered new guidance on sex for people returning from Zika-hit regions. Zika, linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites, but word surfaced this week of infections through sex and blood transfusions, and news of the presence of the virus in the saliva and urine of two patients prompted new worries. In fact, the president of the Brazilian federal biomedical research institution that made the announcement urged pregnant women not to kiss strangers during the country's free-wheeling Carnival celebrations.
By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) – The Zika virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. Director-General Margaret Chan told members of the U.N. health agency's executive board the spread of the mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions. “The level of alarm is extremely high,” Chan told the Geneva gathering.