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Salone Olympic delegation briefed on Zika virus

July 13, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.

Sierra Leone’s Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games delegations were on Tuesday briefed about the deadly Zika virus in Brazil, just three weeks before the commencement of this year’s Olympic Games, at the country’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Freetown

Sierra Leone will be amongst 206 participating nations in next month’s Olympic Games in Brazil and as a way of guiding the country’s delegation, the EOC together with other partner briefed athletes about prevention guides on the Zika virus.

Welcoming the delegation at the Centre, at Cockrell, Director of Disease Prevention and Control, Dr. Foday Dafae said he was delighted to have the opportunity to meet with potential medal winners at the Games.

He said it was important to engage the delegation about the Zika virus before their departure in order to guide and inform both athletes and officials.

Updating the delegations, Dr. Charles Alpren from the United States of America Center for Disease Control, who also works on emergency preparedness in Sierra Leone, explained what the Zika virus is, what the athletes can do to prevent against the virus, and the risk it poses to athletes and officials attending the games.

“The guide for Sierra Leone team to Brazil is that all must protect themselves from being bitten by mosquito, use mosquito repellent, use long sleeves clothes, preferable light coloured, pregnant women should not go to the Games,” Dr. Alpren said as part of his presentation.

On the virus itself, he said it spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito which can also be found in Sierra Leone. He said people could also get Zika through sex with an infected male, while the virus could also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

Sierra Leone’s Paralympic medal hopeful, George Wyndham, remarked that he was pleased with the session as it has helped him with more information about the virus and safety measures.

“This was something worthwhile and I am happy for the decision to have this briefing, which was also an information sharing,” the 26-year-old table tennis star said.

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