Protect International Community From Zika Virus

Mosquito by Pavel Nahly

Target: Mr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee

Goal: Move the Olympic Games away from Brazil and prevent the spread of  Zika virus.

In 2015, a serious outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus occurred in Brazil, posing a serious threat to public health. If the 2016 Olympics proceed in Brazil as planned, this threat will spread internationally. Five hundred thousand visitors from around the world are predicted to show up for the games. When they return to their home countries, they could take the virus with them. Zika virus causes serious birth defects such as microcephaly, which creates severe developmental problems. Call on the Olympic International Committee (IOC) to change the location of the games and avert further spread of the virus.

The health risk of the virus is so great that a collection of 150 experts from around the globe have sent a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) asking it to urge the IOC to relocate the games. Microcephaly, which is caused by the virus, inhibits fetal brain growth. It also produces a host of other problems such as intellectual disabilities, loss of hearing and vision, trouble with balance and movement, difficulty swallowing, and seizures. Initial symptoms of Zika virus are mild; this makes it hard for people to tell if they have it and therefore easier for the virus to transmit. The letter sent to the WHO claimed, “Should that happen [the virus spreading] to poor, as-yet unaffected places (e.g., most of South Asia and Africa) the suffering can be great. It is unethical to run the risk, just for Games that could proceed anyway, if postponed and/or moved.”

Having the Olympics in Brazil is not worth the chance of the virus dispersing further internationally. Tell the IOC to relocate the games and protect the public health.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Bach,

The Olympic Games must be moved away from Brazil to prevent further outbreaks of the Zika virus. Five hundred thousand tourists will arrive in Brazil to watch the games, and when they leave they could spread the virus internationally. The virus causes critical birth defects like microcephaly, which can trigger intellectual disabilities, seizures, and loss of hearing and vision. Take the games away from Brazil and protect the international community from the virus.

Your mission statement claims that the Olympic Movement aims to “contribute to building a peaceful and better world.” Holding the Olympics in Brazil will not contribute to a better world. In fact, health experts stated in an open letter to the World Health Organization that if Olympic tourism causes the virus to reach poor areas that have not yet been touched, “the suffering can be great.”

Stay true to your mission statement and do not allow the games to proceed as planned. Relocate them to a place where the international community can attend and take part in the Olympic values without risk of infection.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pavel Nahly

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