TEAM ZIMBABWE chief medical officer Kenneth Austin Jeans insists the country’s contingent to the Rio Olympic Games runs little or no risk of contracting and bringing back the dreaded Zika virus. The mosquito-borne Zika virus is among topical issues dominating this year’s Summer Games, so much so that it has led to the withdrawal of many high-profile Olympians. By Tinashe Kusema – Sunday Mail
However, Kenneth last week disclosed that all necessary steps had been taken to ensure Team Zimbabwe’s safety.
“Our risk assessment in Brazil is reasonably low but we are cognisant of the public health concerns of the country and those of our athletes, officials and managers,” he said.
“What we have since done is prepare the initial awareness bulletin, which we disbursed to everyone who was in the Zimbabwe training squad.
“We disseminated that information, roughly six weeks ago, to all our athletes through their managers and coaches; stressing on the importance of the information and prevention measures that will be required.”
Some of the prevention measures include use of mosquito repellents and nets, and abstaining from sex.
“Our assessment denotes that there are primarily two areas of prevention; the first being to try and avoid mosquito bites. As such we will be providing our athletes with the required mosquito repellents, encouraging them to wear long sleeved clothing and most importantly urging them to use mosquito nets at night. “I know the authorities in Rio are providing most of these but we are encouraging (Team Zimbabwe) to protect themselves both at night and during the day.
“The second mode of transmission is through sexual intercourse and as such we have stressed to our athletes the importance of abstaining from any sexual activities.
Should that fail, condoms are being provided to all our athletes and officials,” said the Team Zimbabwe doctor.
The delegation to Rio will also be monitored upon their return from the Olympic Games.
“Only as a precaution, we have also set up monitoring systems for the team upon their return and encouraged them to abstain from sex, for a couple of weeks, while we monitor their situation.
We will be on the lookout for any signs and symptoms of the virus and should any cases appear catch them early and contain,” said Kenneth.