rio olympics 2016
Brazil president Dilma Rousseff with the Olympic torch at Brazil Getty

Doctors have warned that the 2016 Olympics, if held in Rio de Janeiro, could lead to devastating consequences worldwide. Post the Zika virus outbreak in the South American country there have been serious concerns from athletes and authorities over whether or not they should allow fans and sportspersons to travel for the Games.

Dr Amir Attaran, who writes for the Harvard Public Health Review, said that staging the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could lead to a "full-blown global health disaster". Attaran reasoned that holding the Games in Rio is not a good idea as thousands of people will be in city in a few months, which could result in the spread of the Zika virus all over the world.

"While Brazil's Zika inevitably will spread globally, given enough time, viruses always do-it helps nobody to speed that up. In particular, it cannot possibly help when an estimated 500,000 foreign tourists flock into Rio for the Games, potentially becoming infected, and returning to their homes where both local Aedes mosquitoes and sexual transmission can establish new outbreaks," he wrote in Harvard Public Health Review.

"All it takes is one infected traveler, a few viral introductions of that kind, in a few countries, or maybe continents, would make a full-blown global health disaster."

Attaran also suggested that the Games should be shifted out of Rio to another city in the country, which is not affected by the virus or to a country that has the experience of hosting such a major event. With less than 100 days to go, it seems unlikely that the Olympics will be shifted despite the threat and presence of the virus.

Meanwhile, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said last week that concerns over the virus would impact his decision to commit to USA's all-star Basketball team, while golfers Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh pulled out from travelling for the event.

Major League Baseball (MLB) cancelled a two-game series earlier this month scheduled to be held in Puerto Rico after the players were briefed on the potential risks of the Zika virus.