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The Olympics and Public Health Considerations

            The Olympic games, or any large-scale mass assembly, represent substantial challenges for the entire health sector of host countries. Due to its immense size, duration, world-wide contributions, and media attention, the Olympics require an extraordinarily high level of public health preparation. Host countries are urged to strengthen and increase the capacity of their health systems, while also having measures in place to be able to reduce the amount of pollutants that come with the increase in people and transportation needs to be able to deal with a very wide range of health problems and emergencies, either natural or man-made. .
             Major anticipated health risks may include illnesses related to heat or cold, food-borne or water-borne illness, communicable diseases and accidents and other types of injuries. International travel itself involves risk since communicable diseases that are not common to a venue might be imported to that location. The millions of meals served to athletes, staff and visitors highlight the opportunity for food-borne disease outbreaks. Athletes and spectators must feel safe and protected. This means they should be able to assume high standards of hygiene for food, water, lodging and recreational areas. They should also be able to assume that high-quality and easily accessible health services will be there when they might need them. .
             Finally, they should feel reassured that the country has the capacity to deal with public health or health care emergencies caused by either natural or man-made events. Further, the Olympic games are a huge target due to the large amounts of people and mass media coverage. The deliberate use of explosives, biological and chemical agents or radio nuclear material would make the task of public health readiness remarkably challenging for any country, large or small. The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany on eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team, who were taken hostage and eventually killed, along with a German police officer, by the Palestinian group Black September (Munich.

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