As many as 150 top scientists from around the world Friday called for the Rio Olympics to be moved or delayed because of the Zika outbreak.
“The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before,” the scientists said in a letter to Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), BBC News reports. “An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic.
“Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places … the suffering can be great,” the letter said. “It is unethical to run the risk, just for Games that could proceed anyway, if postponed and/or moved.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said earlier this month that it saw no reason to delay or move the games because of the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects.