The Olympics: a breeding ground for disease?

The Olympics a breeding ground for disease?

With the Olympic Games now in full swing, and international concerns allayed to some degree about Brazil’s preparedness to host a successful event, reports that it is not only the Rio games that have attracted concerns in the past – especially around health issues.

In a report entitled “If You Want to Study Disease, the Olympics Are Where to Be”, Sarah Zhang reports that, in 2010, the big worry of the Vancouver Olympics was swine flu. The pandemic was sweeping the globe at that time.

Zhang writes that mass gatherings like the Olympics pose a unique risk – lots of people with diseases from all over the world, congregating in small spaces. But they also provide unique opportunities to track how disease spreads.

This year, the virus looming over the Rio Olympics is Zika, although experts have repeatedly said they don’t think Zika is a big risk for Olympics tourists. The World Health Organization is watching the Olympics for less novel diseases, too: other mosquito-borne viruses like dengue and yellow fever, food poisoning, and seasonal flu … all in an effort to understand in more depth how and why they spread.

Have you heard of the term “superspreaders”? Well, some people are just that … Read the full story to find out more…

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