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How do Olympic athletes feel about Brazil Zika outbreak?

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Some health experts are now calling for the summer Olympics to be canceled or delayed due to the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil. Will this mosquito-borne illness stop the athletes from going for the gold? (KABC)

Some experts say the summer Olympics should be canceled or delayed due to the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil. Local athlete Dee Dee Trotter says she won't let the disease distract her from the gold.

Trotter, 33, isn't just fast - she's Olympics fast. The U.S. sprinter has already won gold medals in two Olympic Games and is hoping to qualify for this year's games in Rio.

But it's not just the competition she may be facing this year.

"I don't care what kind of viruses and stuff come out. We're going to finish this one out," Trotter said.

MORE: Brazil's president calls Zika virus "real threat"

She's talking about the Zika virus. The World Health Organization is now calling the mosquito-borne illness a public health emergency.

One of the biggest outbreaks is in Brazil, where more than half-a-million people are expected to visit for this summer's Olympic Games.

Olympic officials downplayed the threat during a Wednesday media event.

"We have worked with the local authorities to increase the inspections in search for stagnant waters and also presence of the mosquito," said Mario Andrada, the director of communications for the organizing Olympic committee.

But while Zika infections generally lead to mild, flu-like symptoms, health officials are alarmed because the virus is also linked to a huge jump in microcephaly cases, in which babies are born with dramatically smaller heads and incomplete brain development.

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Los Angeles County's lead health officer on Wednesday advised pregnant women to think again if they have plans to visit a country with a Zika outbreak.

"I strongly recommend that they defer and not travel to these locations because of the strong risks of potential serious birth defects," said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser with the L.A. County Health Department.

MORE: L.A. health officials establish plan of attack against Zika virus

Some health experts are calling on the International Olympic Committee to either cancel or postpone the Olympic Games. For athletes already in Rio, Zika can be a bit unnerving.

"I haven't really been outside the hotel, so it's kind of scary," said Alyssa Lampe, a wrestler for the U.S. team.

But for Trotter, the focus is on her training and a shot at a third gold medal in what will be her last year of competitive sprinting.

"I can't worry about the little things. I can't worry about my shoes being untied. I just gotta go," Trotter said.

Related Topics:
healthzika virusOlympicsu.s. & worldmosquitopregnant womansports
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