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Yellow Fever Creating Problems for International Sports Events

4 Apr, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Rio, Awarded the ICU Para-Cycling World Championships, Must Now Contend with the Another Health Threat

Rio’s sports venues, whose reputation has been suffering since they were abandoned to fall into ruin after the Olympics, was presented with a rare opportunity – that of hosting the ICU Para-Cycling Track World Championship at Barra Olympic Park. The competition, which took place in late March, featured elite Paralympians, and should have been a cause for celebration and a reason to celebrate the city’s work to renew itself.

Bur Rio is faced with another hurdle – and this one should concern traveling athletes: yellow fever, which has broken out in the region. In fact, its presence convinced fourteen-time Paralympic champion Sarah Storey to withdraw from the competition, citing the fact that she would have been going to South America with her infant son, who at only one month old, is too young to receive the vaccine. (The vaccine is only available to those nine months of age and up.)

Worldwide, health officials are urging travelers – including athletes – to get vaccinated before entering affected regions, according to CNN. The current outbreak of the deadly virus, which has killed a total of 53 people in Brazil, began at the end of 2017 after several cases were confirmed in areas close to São Paulo, the CDC said. More than half of those deaths, according to the World Health Organization, have come in the last few weeks.

A vaccine provides 99 percent of lifetime immunity. The viral hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

According to CNN,

The yellow fever vaccine "is only effective if received at least 10 days prior to arrival in an at-risk area," the CDC said.

Health officials say travelers should plan to get the vaccination before arriving in Brazil as the country is facing a shortage of the vaccine. However, American supplies of the vaccine can be also be limited.

Last year, the CDC announced that yellow fever vaccine supplies were expected to run out in the US after Sanofi Pasteur, which produces the YF-Vax vaccine, implemented restricted ordering following manufacturing problems.

For a list of areas where the vaccine is recommended according to the Centers for Disease Control, click here.

In the run-up to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio was beset by much-publicized problems that constituted health threats, including polluted water, dengue fever, Zika virus and more.

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