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How to Minimise and Manage Risk During the Olympics

Posted by Mike Atherton on 27 January, 2016

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If you have travellers lucky enough to be attending Rio 2016, there are a number of risk factors you should be aware of to ensure your travellers can enjoy the Games in comfort and good health.

Health risks for those traveling to Brazil for the Olympic Games can be grouped into three key areas:

  1. Food and water borne diseases
  2. Vaccine preventable diseases
  3. Insect borne diseases
     

Food and Water Borne Diseases

Food and water borne illness is probably the most common area of concern for international travellers. When traveling in Brazil, the three food and water borne disease threats seen most often are Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Cholera.

Some simple tips your traveller can follow to stay safe include:

  • When drinking water make sure it is either boiled, purified or bottled from a reputable provider.
  • Try to avoid any raw meat dishes and unpasteurised dairy products.
  • Ensure that any food they eat has been properly prepared, thoroughly cooked and is served hot.
     

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Some such diseases are endemic to Brazil, but due to the nature of the Olympic Games, travellers should be prepared for others, of worldwide origin, brought over by the mass international travel.

These preventable diseases can include:

  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough

In order to protect themselves, your travellers should see a doctor with experience in travel medicine at least 4 to 6 weeks before the trip to Brazil. This will ensure there is enough time to complete the full series of any necessary vaccinations and for the body to develop the necessary immune response.

Insect Borne Diseases

In Brazil there are number of diseases transmitted by insect bites, particularly those of the mosquito, including:

  • Dengue Fever
  • Yellow Fever
  • Zika virus
  • Malaria
  • Chikungunya

Yellow fever and malaria have vaccines or medicines that can help protect the traveller, so they should be sure to ask their doctor about the yellow fever vaccine and malarial medications.

For others, prevention is key. In order to avoid contracting these diseases, one should do as much as possible to avoid being bitten by insects in the first place. Travellers should use insect repellent that contains at least 35% DEET and keep as much skin as possible covered with clothing. A key tip that is often missed is to cover clothes with repellant, as well as exposed skin. When booking accommodation, ensure it has window and door screens to keep insects safely outside.

These basic precautions can help your travellers keep safe, healthy and able to enjoy the Games in comfort. Be sure that they also have the right level of insurance for Brazil and the right level of on-the-ground support available should they need it.

For a more in-depth look at how business travellers view risk, offering valuable insight for the travel risk manager, download the fascinating results of our risk survey.  

Topics: Travel Risk Management