IOC will 'do everything' to keep Rio Games safe from Zika virus: Bach

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed in a laboratory vectors in San Salvador, on January 27, 2016 (AFP Photo/Marvin Recinos )
An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed in a laboratory vectors in San Salvador, on January 27, 2016 (AFP Photo/Marvin Recinos )

Athens (AFP) - The International Olympic Committee will "do everything" in its power to keep the Rio 2016 Games safe from the Zika virus, IOC chief Thomas Bach said on Thursday.

"We will do everything to ensure the health of the athletes and all the visitors," Bach said during a visit to Athens, adding that a circular on the issue would go out to national Olympic Committees by Friday.

Borne by tiger mosquitoes, Zika causes flu-like symptoms and a rash, but it has been linked to a rise in birth defects in Brazil, the country hardest hit by the tropical virus so far.

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Concerns are growing about the Olympics, which are likely to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to host city Rio de Janeiro in August.

However, Bach stressed that August is winter season in Brazil, something which should help mitigate the problem.

"The Olympic Games will take place during the Brazilian winter...so we will also have different climatic conditions," he said.

"We are in close contact with the World Health Organisation as well as with the (Games) organising committee and the Brazilian authorities," he added.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has called a South American summit on the issue and regional health ministers are meeting in Uruguay on Tuesday.

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