rio olympics 2016
An overview shot of the Rio Olympic stadiumGetty

The upcoming Rio Olympics has witnessed the focus of authorities shift from preparations in the run up to the games, to the deadly Zika virus outbreak. To combat the menace, Brazil's health ministry is planning on launching a smartphone app that will help detect the disease during the games.

The app will provide information to users to help them prevent the mosquito-borne illness and determine if they possess symptoms. It will also direct users to a pharmacy if help is needed.

The app will be officially launched in May and will be available in English, Portugese, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. This comes after a number of state and national associations expressed concerns over the outbreak of the virus, with a number of athletes confirming they are having second thoughts over competing in this summer's main event.

Such has been the impact of the outbreak, that the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the Zika virus "a public health emergency of international concern". The virus is known to cause a condition called microcephaly- a birth defect that causes small heads and brain abnormalities.

The flu-like disease spreads via mosquito bites and sexual contact has also been linked to the Guillam Barre syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that causes temporary paralysis.

Despite concerns, authorities in Brazil have assured national federations that all precautions will be taken, with major tourist spots and locations being inspected daily during the games to ensure there are no puddles or breeding grounds for mosquitoes.