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Rio Olympics: British Olympics Association issues Zika update to sports bodies

The Zika virus is believed to be less potent in the dry months of the year, when the Olympics will take place.

An aedes aegypti mosquito is pictured on a leaf in San Jose, Costa Rica February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
An aedes aegypti mosquito is pictured on a leaf in San Jose, Costa Rica February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has issued a fresh Zika virus advisory to national governing bodies of sport to reflect changed government advice ahead of the Rio Games in August. A spokesman said the update was sent out on Tuesday after the government recommended that pregnant women postpone until after pregnancy non-essential travel to areas with active Zika transmission.

The previous advice encouraged pregnant women to consider avoiding travel. The BOA, which issued its first advisory three weeks ago, said the update simply reflected a commitment to keep all parties informed of any changes to government advice.

British rower Constantine Louloudis, a double men's eight world champion and bronze medallist in London in 2012, told Reuters he had received the latest document from his performance director on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old, who is seen as one of Britain's leading contenders for rowing gold in Rio, said he had no personal concerns.

"They (the BOA and health authorities) seem pretty well informed," he said at a media event organised by British Rowing data analytics partners SAS. "It's certainly not something I'm thinking about a lot.

"We'll have more and more briefings on these sort of things in the run-in. Our team aren't wildly concerned about it, we're thinking about our day to day training."

Twice Olympian Louisa Reeve is keeping an eye on the situation as she prepares for the British trials and a likely third Games.

"It's definitely something to look out for but for me personally, where I am in my life, it's not really an issue at the moment," she said. "It's not something that's my top worry."

Louloudis also has few concerns about the water quality at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas Olympic venue after speaking to rowers who competed at the junior world championships test event there.

"They all seemed quite relaxed about it. They did say they took precautions, and they certainly weren't going to jump in the water or put their hands in, but it's easy enough to avoid doing that," he said.

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