UN health agency rejects Rio Olympics postponement call over Zika outbreak

Posted at 8:50 AM, May 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-28 09:16:37-04

BERLIN — The World Health Organization says there is “no public health justification” for postponing or canceling the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the Zika outbreak.

The assessment in a statement early Saturday came after 150 health experts issued an open letter to the U.N. health agency, calling for the games to be delayed or relocated “in the name of public health.” They cited recent scientific evidence that the Zika virus causes severe birth defects, most notably babies born with abnormally small heads.

WHO said that “based on current assessment, canceling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.”

It noted that Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which are reporting transmission of the virus by mosquitoes.