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Zika Virus and the Rio Olympic Games

Hamilton, Bruce MBChB, DTM&H, MD, FACSEP*,†; Exeter, Dan MBChB, MmedSci, FACSEP*,‡; Beable, Sarah MBChB, FACSEP*,‡; Coleman, Lynne MBChB*,§; Milne, Chris MBChB, FACSEP*,¶

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: November 2019 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p 523–526
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000551
Practical Management

Objective: To evaluate the impact of Zika virus on preparation and management of the New Zealand (NZ) Olympic team.

Design: Descriptive manuscript.

Setting: New Zealand Olympic Health team preparation and management during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, 2016.

Patients (or Participants): New Zealand Olympic Team members.

Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors): This manuscript describes the approaches used by the NZ Olympic Health team to the minimization of risk from Zika virus.

Main Outcome Measures: Although descriptive of approach forms most of the article, the results of Zika virus serology are presented.

Results: The NZ Olympic Health team took a proactive approach to risk mitigation, including extensive education, clothing changes, mosquito spray, mosquito nets, and voluntary postexposure testing. No positive serology was observed in those tested.

Conclusions: The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil, the associated complication of microcephaly, and the evolving understanding of virus transmission created significant uncertainty for NZ Olympic team members. The proactive approach taken by the health team to the mitigation of risk, combined with the anticipated low risk of arbovirus transmission over the period of the games, resulted in enhanced confidence from team members and no reports of positive serology.

*High Performance Sport NZ, Millenium Institute of Sport and Health, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, New Zealand;

New Zealand Olympic Committee;

Axis Sports Medicine Specialists, Auckland, New Zealand;

§Apollo Medical Centre; and

Anglesea Sports Medicine, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Corresponding Author: Bruce Hamilton, MBChB, DTM&H, MD, FACSEP, Director of Performance Health, High Performance Sport NZ, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, 0632 New Zealand (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received April 06, 2017

Accepted July 29, 2017

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