Zika Virus Scare Spreads as Brazil Gears up for Carnival, Olympics

Reuters, 01/18/2016

Olympic and tourism officials in Brazil downplayed risks for foreign visitors from the mosquito-borne Zika virus on Monday, even as the health ministry warned pregnant women to consult doctors before visiting the country amid a widening scare.

Alarm over the virus, linked to a rising number of mental birth defects among children of mothers infected by it, comes two weeks before nationwide Carnival celebrations, a highlight of Brazil’s tourism calendar.

It also comes 200 days before Rio de Janeiro hosts the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics, the first in South America.

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