An Op Ed piece in the Harvard Public Health Review is calling for the postponement and/or relocation of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the wake of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil.

Canadian lawyer and law professor Amir Attaran, of the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law at University of Ottawa, writes:

Brazil’s Zika problem is inconveniently not ending.  The outbreak that began in the country’s northeast has reached Rio de Janeiro, where it is flourishing.  Clinical studies are also mounting that Zika infection is associated not just with pediatric microcephaly and brain damage, but also adult conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome[1] and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which are debilitating and sometimes fatal.[2]

Simply put, Zika infection is more dangerous, and Brazil’s outbreak more extensive, than scientists reckoned a short time ago.

Attaran’s case for pulling the plug on the Rio Games hinges on key five points. Namely, that the virus has spread more rapidly in Rio de Janeiro, host city of the Games, than previously expected. The viral strain in the area is “clearly new, different, and vastly more dangerous” than the previously discovered strain, presenting a significantly higher risk for microcephaly. He argues that the global influx of travellers to the area—some 500,000 are expected—will expedite the inevitable global spread of the disease and, in doing so, compromise “the already-urgent job of inventing new technologies to stop” the virus. Finally, Attaran says, proceeding with the Games is socially irresponsible and unethical, which goes against the values of the Games.

Read his damning report, and proposed solution to move and/or postpone the Games, in its entirety at Harvard Public Health Review.

Do you think the Games should continue? Sound off in the comments below.