125 health experts have called to relocate the summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil amid the ongoing Zika outbreak.
“Currently, many athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 Games,” the group of scientists, doctors and medical ethicists wrote to the World Health Organization, ABC reports. “We agree with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendation that workers should ‘Consider delaying travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission’. If that advice were followed uniformly, no athlete would have to choose between risking disease and participating in a competition that many have trained for their whole lives.”
The letter also claims the WHO has a conflict of interest because of its partnership with the International Olympic Committee.
“To prejudge that ‘there’s not going to be a lot of problems,’ before reviewing this evidence [on Zika virus effects] is extremely inappropriate of WHO, and suggests that a change in leadership may be required to restore WHO’s credibility,” the letter says.
In February, the WHO declared Zika a global health emergency, the first time in history for a mosquito-borne disease.