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Health Concerns for Olympic Travelers

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More than 200 countries and thousands of travelers are expected at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio this month.

Zika virus concerns

Because of concerns over recent outbreaks of Zika virus in South America, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued special recommendations for folks who are traveling to Brazil.

According to Tosin Goje, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, there are two ways that Zika virus can be transmitted

"The primary mode of transmission is through a mosquito bite," said Dr. Goje. "That's how most people initially contract the Zika virus, but now we know it can be sexually transmitted."

The CDC is recommending that pregnant women avoid traveling to areas where Zika virus is circulating, as Zika virus in a pregnant woman can result in microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby's head and brain are smaller and under-developed.

Check in with your doctor

Dr. Goje said it's important for all travelers to be aware of any local health concerns before heading out of the country.

The CDC recommends that travelers visit their primary health physician before departing for their destination to make sure they are up to date on all necessary vaccines.

It's also a good idea to ask a doctor about any medications that might be necessary to protect against other mosquito-borne illnesses, like malaria.

Be smart, be safe

Dr. Goje said it's also important for travelers to take simple preventive measures once they've arrived at their destination.

"If they have to travel, then it is recommended that they protect themselves," said Dr. Goje. "Use DEET containing insect repellant. Wear long sleeves clothes and pants. Try to stay in a mosquito net environment in cool areas."

The CDC has a special section on their website with important information and tips for travelers headed to Rio this summer.



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