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Zika virus not a threat to Rio Olympics, says Germany's chief Olympic doctor

Bernd Wolfarth, Germany's chief Olympic doctor, also mentioned, however, that ultimately it's up to the athletes to take their call.

A woman looks on next to a banner as soldiers and municipal health workers take part in cleaning of the streets, gardens and homes as part of the city's efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, February 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera
A woman looks on next to a banner as soldiers and municipal health workers take part in cleaning of the streets, gardens and homes as part of the city's efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, February 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera
 

BERLIN (Reuters) - The spread of the Zika virus in Brazil needs to be monitored but is not a threat to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Germany's chief Olympic doctor said on Wednesday.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation's leading doctor, Bernd Wolfarth, told Reuters, (that) however, it was up to the athletes themselves whether they attended.

"Apart from the fact athletes decide for themselves and freely whether they will compete or not, one must now follow the development (of the virus) very carefully," he said.

The mosquito-borne virus, which is widespread in Brazil and has been linked to birth defects, has prompted concern among athletes and sports officials around the world as they prepare for the August 5-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Kenya caused a stir on Tuesday when the head of its Olympics committee said the team might withdraw from the Rio Games because of Zika, but officials said later it was too soon to decide on the impact of the virus.

Earlier on Wednesday, Toni Minichiello, the coach of reigning heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, said Britain should move its preparation camp for the Rio Games outside Brazil and that he would not encourage his client to defend her title.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, so combating the outbreak is focused on eradicating mosquito populations and preventing mosquito bites.

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