'Very low risk' of further international spread of Zika as result of Olympics - WHO

The organisation's emergency committee says the risk can be minimised "by good public health measures"

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has concluded there is a very low risk of further international spread of the Zika virus as a result of the Olympic Games in Brazil.

The emergency committee looked at how mosquito-borne diseases spread through international travel and mass gatherings.

The committee noted:"The individual risks in areas of transmission are the same whether or not a mass gathering is conducted, and can be minimized by good public health measures."

However, the WHO's previous advice remains in place. 

It is advising that pregnant women should not travel to areas with ongoing outbreaks. 

The committee also suggests pregnant women whose sexual partners have travelled to areas with outbreaks "should ensure safe sexual practices or abstain from sex for the duration of their pregnancy".

It has previously been recommended that people returning from areas hit by the virus should wait for at least eight weeks before trying for a baby.

The Zika epidemic was declared a global emergency in February.

Zika has been linked to serious birth defects including microcephaly - where babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

It has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis which affect the nervous system.

Nearly 1,300 babies have been born in Brazil with microcephaly since the mosquito-borne Zika began circulating there last year.

The majority of those infected with the virus have no symptoms, but it can cause a mild illness with symptoms including rashes, fever and headaches.