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Africa Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Report Calls Strict Preventive Measures Before, During and After Travel to Rio-De Janeiro-2016 Olympic to Reduce the Risk of Zika Virus (ZIKV) Importation

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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The 2016 Olympics and Paralympics will take place from 5-21 August and 7-18 September 2016 in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, as much as half a million people are expected to attend the event all over the world. The ZIKV outbreak in Brazil, poses a threat of potential importation to the African continent and a further threat of a global spread of the virus. This pressing threat is currently pending over the continent as ZIKV has started circulating in Cabo Verde and Guinea- Bissau.

The Africa CDC ‘Rio-de Janeiro-2016 Olympic Event and Potential Risk of ZIKV Outbreak for Africa’ report underlined the fact that Africa has favorable conditions for the ZIKV outbreak which include: favorable climate and long seasons of mosquito activities, wider distribution of transmitting mosquitos, limited health infrastructure and capacity to detect and contain ZIKV outbreak. Hence the importation of even few cases from affected countries may end up in explosive outbreak in the continent, with high social, economic impacts.

The further report emphasized on the strict appropriate preventive measures before, during and after travel to help reduce the risk of ZIKV importation from affected countries especially Brazil following the Rio-2016 Olympic event and probable explosive outbreak into the continent.

The Africa CDC recommendation of preventive measures:

  • Exposure prevention (mosquito bite prevention)
  • Safe sexual practice (including correct and consistent use of condoms)
  • postponing travel to affected countries especially women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant)
  • Protection of women in the reproductive age group and pregnancy (safe sex practice, including correct and consistent use of condoms, or abstaining from sex for the duration of the pregnancy, wait at least 8 weeks before trying to conceive),

Recommendations to member states

  • Importation prevention (enhanced surveillance and diagnostic capacity),
  • Conduct post-event surveillance and follow-up mechanism; this includes identifying and closely following athlete or spectator returnees in order to detect ZIKV importation early, then to prevent ongoing local transmission especially for those countries with high burden of Aedes mosquitoes,
  • Enhance vector control and community awareness and engagement, especially in areas in which there are athlete or spectator returnees.

Strictly following simple and appropriate measures will help to reduce the risk of ZIKV importation and probable explosive outbreak into the continent, where environmental and an extended risk period in a year are favorable for competent mosquito activities.

Africa CDC will continue to monitor the situation and will update relevant stakeholders as information becomes available.

For more information on the report go to: - http://au.int/en/documents/31227/rio-de-janeiro-2016-olympic-event-and-potential-risk-zika-virus-outbreak-africajuly