The Journal-World has been provided two medical statements — one from the head of the USA Team Medical staff and the head of the medical team for the World University Games — concerning Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, which has caused nine deaths (and 1,800 quarantined) in South Korea.
The quotes were distributed by Basketball Travelers, Inc. It was noted that no one in Gwangju currently has MERS symptoms.
From Larry Rink, MD, chairman FISU (International University Sports Federation) Medical Committee: “I want everyone to know that we are well aware of the MERS outbreak. This disease can be contained by quarantine procedures and will be. We have very stringent precautions for this in regards to anyone entering the athletes Village and the country is monitoring those coming into and out of South Korea. I will update you if we have further information. This should not be a concern for these games.”
From Ronald P. Olson, MD, associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine and Lead Physician USA Delegation, World University Games: “At this stage, the risks sound very small. South Korea has known capabilities, the CDC will be watching over us closely, and if it becomes an issue, I think the Universiade Village will be one of the safer places on the planet. A reality is that now an athlete with a fever for any cause is likely going to be quarantined, probably in the end unnecessarily. But this is something we need to be prepared for, and supportive of.”
About 20,000 athletes are expected to compete in the University Games.
“The Government of the Republic of Korea is taking very stringent precautions to avoid any further spread of this virus,” a statement from FISU read as reported by Inside the Games. “We anticipate that the MERS outbreak which has really been quite limited will not have any effect on the games. I can assure you that we are watching this closely.”
Participants are encouraged to wash their hands during the day and not cough toward others to prevent possible scenarios where an illness could be spread.