The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee says he already has a plan to help protect for athletes and staff traveling to Brazil this summer against the Zika virus. He’s responding to a recent letter sent to him by several U.S. Senators, including Florida Democrat Bill Nelson.
On Monday, Nelson joined 10 other Senate Democrats in asking U.S. Olympic officials about what steps they were taking to protect athletes. It’s a concern Nelson has shared on the Senate floor, when he supported a failed effort to fully fund President Obama’s $1.9 billion request to combat the Zika virus.
“Brazil is covered over with Zika infestation and infection,” he said. “Remember, it cannot only be transmitted by the mosquito, but it can also be transmitted sexually.”
But, in his own response letter, CEO Scott Blackmun says his Olympics Committee is already providing insect repellent, long-sleeved clothes as well as condoms for up to six months to Olympic athletes and staff. An “Infectious Disease Advisory Group” was created months ago to help identify and establish best practices. And, Blackmun says he’s in regular contact with the CDC and has informed athletes and staff about health officials’ recommendations.
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