The spread of the Zika virus in Brazil needs to be monitored but is not a threat to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Germany's chief Olympic doctor said on Wednesday as more athletes, including U.S. soccer goalie Hope Solo, are expressing concerns.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation's leading doctor, Bernd Wolfarth, told Reuters, however, it was up to the athletes themselves whether they attended.
"Apart from the fact athletes decide for themselves and freely whether they will compete or not, one must now follow the development (of the virus) very carefully," he said.
“If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn’t go” Solo was reported saying in an interview with Sports Illustrated
. “I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,”
The mosquito-borne virus, which is widespread in Brazil and has been linked to birth defects, has prompted concern among athletes and sports officials around the world as they prepare for the Aug. 5-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro, said Reuters.
Kenya caused a stir on Tuesday when the head of its Olympics committee said the team might withdraw from the Rio Games because of Zika, but officials said later it was too soon to decide on the impact of the virus.
Earlier on Wednesday, Toni Minichiello, the coach of reining heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, said Britain should move its preparation camp for the Rio Games outside Brazil and that he would not encourage his client to defend her title.
There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, so combating the outbreak is focused on eradicating mosquito populations and preventing mosquito bites.
The U.S. women's national soccer team was scheduled to be briefed Tuesday night on the developing Zika virus crisis, reported The Associated Press.
Speaking at a news conference, coach Jill Ellis said there have been "constant conversations behind the scenes" about the virus.
"I think at this point the focus is certainly we want to not distract from the performance piece. We haven't qualified, so talking about Rio right now for me is not something that's in my scope," Ellis said. "But I think we're certainly sensitive to the fact that this has become a global issue."
"We're focused on qualifying, so we don't really have Rio in our sites yet until the end of this month, hopefully," U.S. forward Alex Morgan said. "But Zika virus is a scary thing that is very unknown for a lot of people, especially on the side of pregnant women who might want to get pregnant in the following years after the Olympics."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.