With the alarming Zika virus outbreak in the Latin Americas, South Korea has recently unveiled the uniform that they will use to protect their delegation to the summer Olympics slated on August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The South Korean Olympic Committee explained that the Zika-proof outfits are filled with mosquito-repellent chemicals that will ensure the safety of their athletes and officials in the Olympics. The outfits as reported by ABC News include long pants, long-sleeved shirts and jackets.
“The uniforms will be worn by athletes during ceremonies, training and at the athletes’ village,” the Korean Olympic Committee said.
The committee added that they could not alter the uniforms during competition because of strict rules and performance concerns, although athletes will be allowed to use anti-mosquito spray during competition.
South Korea is the first country to design a Zika-proof uniform that will protect their delegation for the getting bitten by virus carrier called Aedes mosquito. The WHO has reported that People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available and the best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
The WHO also reported that the Zika virus is also blamed for the growing number of microcephaly among newborn babies and health officials are cautioning all those who will be attending and competing in the summer Olympics that if they get bitten, they get the risk of having microcephaly babies. They also explained that the virus can also be transmitted sexually if one’s partner has been infected with the disease. Aside from microcephaly, the virus is also blamed for the rise in chikungunya and dengue diseases.
In January, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) issued travel guidance on affected countries, including the use of enhanced precautions, and guidance for pregnant women including considering postponing travel. Other governments or health agencies also issued similar travel warnings, while Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Jamaica advised women to postpone getting pregnant until more is known about the risks.
South Korea also sent it health officials to Brazil to assess the playing venues, athlete’s village and areas where their delegation will be during the Olympics. The health delegation will then come up with guidance for their delegation and countrymen to follow when they are in Brazil for the Games.
Aside from South Korea, the United States has also launched its Ralph Lauren-designed outfits for the Games and they did not seem to mind the health implications as they are set to wear shorts during the closing ceremonies.
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