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Infection Control

Olympic Games could breed Olympic germs

July 24, 2012
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LONDON — The 2012 London Olympic Games will bring together residents, athletes and visitors from more than 200 countries, making the need for vigilance against germs a daunting task, according to The Star.

The likelihood of a serious health emergency is slim to none, but it does still exist; the worse-case scenario being the emergence of a new, readily transmitted infectious disease, the article stated.

According to the article, just a few weeks ago, the entire Australian women''s water polo team was quarantined after several members were diagnosed with whooping cough, an incident that proved that anything can happen, and that health officials need to be ready for any worrisome situation.

"Our risk assessments indicate that there''s only a slight increased risk of infectious disease such as diarrhea and vomiting or respiratory illness," said Brian McCloskey, a member of England''s Health Protection Agency (HPA).

"And the reality is that serious outbreaks are uncommon. Our message for everyone attending the Olympics is to enjoy the games and ensure they are up-to-date with routine vaccinations as recommended by their home country," McClosky added.

An article that was published in The Lancet Infectious Disease Journal this year suggested that mass gatherings such as the Olympics have "potentially serious implications to health, security and economic activity worldwide," the article noted.

It is also pointed out that "exchanged pathogens can travel back to different countries when visitors journey home, while lingering diseases can remain at the host site," the article added.

Click here to read the complete article.

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