Bach promises refugee involvement in Rio 2016 Torch Relay and Opening Ceremony

The Zika virus is the suspected culprit of 3,400 cases of microcephaly in the country.

Bach said the fact that the Olympics will take place in August, during Brazil's winter, could mitigate the impact of the Zika outbreak. "There's the issue with Zika, and also an issue with the dengue virus and even malaria in some of the cities like Manaus, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia where [soccer] will be played".

Venezuela authorities have broken their silence on the outbreak of Zika in the South American country, and they're pledging to mount a public health campaign to slow the virus' spread.

Bach said the IOC are working in close contact with the Brazilian authorities to make sure the most up-to-date information regarding the virus and its prevention are disseminated to the relevant worldwide bodies.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, who runs WHO's outbreak response department, said any country that has the Aedes mosquito should be concerned about the possibility of the Zika virus arriving.

"Arrival of the virus in some cases has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has revealed that a refugee will carry the Olympic torch in Greece and refugees will march behind the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony for the Rio Games.

Alarming spread: World Health Organization director Margaret Chan said the mosquito-borne virus is "spreading explosively".

Rio Olympics organizers are also scrambling to slim down and save money as Brazil is suffering from its worst economic crisis in decades, with the economy shrinking previous year and expected to do the same in 2016. Once a mosquito bites a person who has the virus, the mosquito can then pass the virus on to the next person it bites.

She says the Rio Organising Committee is examining ways to reduce risk.

He said: "They are here already and I have seen them myself north of Chichester in West Sussex".

"It's a step in the right direction to inspect facilities, but this is something that should have been done on a broader basis five years ago, not just in the months before the Games", said Carlos Granato, an infectious diseases specialist at the Federal University of São Paulo.

"The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty", Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan told the organization's executive board members.

The WHO, meanwhile, will convene a meeting on Monday to decide if Zika should be treated as a global emergency. The more people who learn about it in the coming six months, the more who will be changing their plans.



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