RIo Olympics tourism: Avoid sex, mosquito bites and a stark warning


Avoiding mosquito bites, and safe or no sex is the best defense against a virus, a travel safety specialist advises travelers heading to the Olympics.

Travel safety specialist Travelwise has issued a stark warning to travelers heading to the 2016 Olympic Games; slap on the mosquito repellent and practice safe sex or abstain completely if you want to stay safe this summer.

The advice, which has been illustrated in an easy-to-follow animation on YouTube comes as millions of sports fans from all over the world prepare to travel to the Games, which kick off on Friday (August 5) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the origin of the Zika virus outbreak.

Zika can cause the birth defect, microcephaly, in babies, a condition resulting in developmental problems. It can also lead to the rare neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to the World Health Organisation.

Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy are advised against all non-essential travel to Zika-infected areas, which now include several countries across the Americas.

However, there is no reason why other travelers, including Games-goers, can’t go ahead with their plans as long as they take precautions, according to Travelwise director, Andy Prior.

“Mosquito bite prevention and safe or no sex is the best defence against the Zika virus; that’s the advice we are giving to our clients who are traveling to the Olympic Games or other Zika-infected areas,” said Prior.

“It’s never too late to be prepared and with just two days to go before the opening ceremony, we are issuing a few last-minute reminders to keep all travelers to the Americas safe this summer.”

The Travelwise animation on YouTube provides the following tips on preventing mosquito bites in Zika-infected areas:

• Cover exposed skin with long sleeves, trousers and socks;
• Use insect repellant formulas with at least 30% DEET;
• Spray your room before you sleep;
• Sleep in a screened room and use fans and air-conditioning if available;
• Use a mosquito net, checking there are no gaps.

UK-headquartered Travelwise offers a range of spezialised training courses designed to support professional organizations in their travel risk management programs.

The interactive training courses help clients educate their employees about the safety risks they may face when travelling overseas and how to avoid them.

The company recently rolled out its basic online training in three new languages – French, Spanish and German – as it embarks on an expansion drive in Europe and the Americas.

“Our training is suitable for travel to every destination, and not just those designated high risk, but with countries like Brazil, safety awareness is essential and we can give travelers and their employers peace of mind by helping them prepare for their trip.”