Irish female rower still intent on travelling to Rio Olympics amidst Zika virus speculation

Sinead Jennings believes the threat is low

BY Sinéad Farrell 19:36 Thursday 11 February 2016, 19:36 11 Feb 2016

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Following the outbreak of the Zika virus, female athletes who have qualified for the Rio Olympics, are considering the risk factor in deciding if they should travel to the games.

Thus far, USA athlete Hope Solo has said she would not go if she 'had to make the decision today' while the coach of British gold medalist, Jessica Ennis-Hill is advising her to think carefully about whether she should go to regions where people have contracted the infection.

The Zika virus is transmitted via Aedes mosquitoes and in recent weeks it has been reported to have spread to regions in the Caribbean, Central and South America. US Olympic bosses, have advised athletes and staff, to consider not travelling to Rio if they feel in danger of becoming infected. 

The advice is aimed particularly at women who are pregnant or are thinking about having a child.

But Irish rower Sinead Jennings who is also a medical physician, does not suspect that the risk is high enough at present to pull out of the games, but will continue to keep abreast of developments as they occur.

''It is early days and maybe if more information emerges later. From the information coming out now I’ve no concerns. Obviously pregnant women are most affected by it.

''From both a doctor and athlete’s point of view, I feel that the risk is low unless pregnant and a very high risk if pregnant. Possibly spectators or supporters and support staff for the teams who are pregnant should consider whether to go.''

''But we’d be going now, although, I’ll definitely monitor it over the coming months and get advice from the Institute of Sport and the Olympic Council. At the moment, there is no information to say that we should not go.''


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