The Maria Lenk Trophy was declared an overall success as a test event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, but the outdoor warm up pool is battling a mosquito infestation.
The news is particularly concerning, given that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a public health emergency in Brazil and Latin America due to the Zika virus, which is chiefly spread by mosquitos.
There is no treatment for Zika; symptoms include fever, rashes, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and conjunctivitis. The virus is especially dangerous to pregnant women, causing microcephaly (which can lead to brain damage and birth defects) in newborns.
When the health emergency was declared, Dr. Joao Grangeiro, Rio’s medical director, said that athletes will not be at risk and should come to the Games.
Brazilian 2016 Olympic teamer Leonardo de Deus was one of the competitors who complained of the infestation at the Maria Lenk Trophy, the second of Brazil’s two Olympic qualifiers, saying that the outdoor warm up pool “had a ton of mosquitos.”
The organizers of the Games plan on covering the outdoor warm up pool with an air conditioned tent come August, which should help some with the mosquito problem, although some athletes may still be nervous about their health going into the event.