San Diego

Local Doctor Joins U.S. Olympic Committee Infectious Disease Advisory Group

 A San Diego doctor has been selected to join a U.S. Olympic Advisory Group on infectious diseases to help communicate, in part, the latest information on the Zika virus ahead of the athletes' trip to Brazil. 

Dr. Randy Taplitz, the clinical director of infectious diseases at the University of California, San Diego, will assist the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) in finding and creating best practices for the assessment and management of infectious disease. 

In particular, the group will take a look at how athletes and staff traveling to the Olympic and Paralympic games will be impacted by the issues. 

"I think that every athlete needs to make their own personal decision about what they want to do I think that again. you know. it's the job of the USOC to make sure that they have all the updated information and guidance that they feel that they need to make that decision," said Taplitz.

A small group of athletes have said they would consider skipping the summer games in Rio de Janeiro if they feel their health is at risk, including the women's soccer goalkeeper, Hope Solo. 

Taplitz says 80 percent of the people infected won't know they have been infected and 20 perfect may get slight symptoms, like a fever or muscle aches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines for those traveling to countries with the disease.

"What they suggest is that a woman coming back from a Zika endemic area would likely be recommended to wait at least eight weeks before getting pregnant or should considerate it," said Taplitz.

For men, the wait period is six months, because doctors don't know exactly how long the virus can last in their reproductive organs, she said. Find more information about travel advisories here.

Taplitz says for the most part, the athletes are ready for Rio, despite the virus. 

"From what we're hearing most of the athletes are planning to go there planning to compete they're very excited about it," she said.

The group will be chaired by Dr. Carrie L. Byington, MD, from the University of Utah Health Care. Byington will be joined by Dr. Randy Taplitz, MD, from the University of California, San Diego, and Capt. Martin S. Cetron, MD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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