Rapid Spread of Zika Virus in The Americas--Implications for Public Health Preparedness for Mass Gatherings at the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games

Int J Infect Dis. 2016 Mar:44:11-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2016.02.001. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


Mass gatherings at major international sporting events put millions of international travelers and local host-country residents at risk of acquiring infectious diseases, including locally endemic infectious diseases. The mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently aroused global attention due to its rapid spread since its first detection in May 2015 in Brazil to 22 other countries and other territories in the Americas. The ZIKV outbreak in Brazil, has also been associated with a significant rise in the number of babies born with microcephaly and neurological disorders, and has been declared a 'Global Emergency by the World Health Organization. This explosive spread of ZIKV in Brazil poses challenges for public health preparedness and surveillance for the Olympics and Paralympics which are due to be held in Rio De Janeiro in August, 2016. We review the epidemiology and clinical features of the current ZIKV outbreak in Brazil, highlight knowledge gaps, and review the public health implications of the current ZIKV outbreak in the Americas. We highlight the urgent need for a coordinated collaborative response for prevention and spread of infectious diseases with epidemic potential at mass gatherings events.

Keywords: Arboviruses; Brazil; Mass Gatherings; Olympics; Sporting events; Zika virus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Microcephaly / epidemiology
  • Microcephaly / virology
  • Public Health*
  • Sports
  • World Health Organization
  • Zika Virus Infection / complications
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology*
  • Zika Virus*