Rio Olympics, Now Brought to You by Insect Repellent

And Zika virus, capitalism
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2016 1:07 PM CDT
Rio Olympics, Now Brought to You by Insect Repellent

Making marketing lemonade out of infectious disease lemons, the Olympics have partnered with an insect repellent for the first time ever, Bloomberg reports. More than 100,000 bottles of OFF!, a repellent "widely used" in Brazil, will be given to athletes, volunteers, and staff during next month's Olympics in Rio. SC Johnson, maker of OFF!, is also stepping up production to make sure its repellent is available for purchase around the city. The OFF! factory in Brazil has tripled shifts in recent months. “We’re working twenty-four seven,” an SC Johnson executive says. “People come to Rio from very far, they want to enjoy the Olympics, they want to enjoy their time, and don’t want to be bothered by anything.” Sales of insect repellent in Brazil rose more than 30% last year, according to Fortune.

Brazil's new health minister says there's an "almost zero" chance visitors and athletes will contract Zika during the Olympics, the Washington Post reports. With winter descending on the southern hemisphere, new Zika cases in the state of Rio have dropped from up to 3,500 a week to just 30. Regardless, some athletes say concerns about Zika will keep them from the Olympics, and only half of the Games' tickets had been sold by April. One infectious diseases specialist tells the Post the government's optimism about Zika "is a little exaggerated." And some within the community and even inside the government believe the health ministry is embellishing the steps it's taking to fight Zika. (More Olympics stories.)

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