Spanish Olympian Says She Got Zika Training in Brazil

'It wasn't that bad'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2016 11:16 AM CST
Marina Alabau, a Spanish windsurfer and a gold medalist at the London Olympics, says she got the Zika virus while training in Brazil in December.   (Tsafrir Abayov)

(Newser) – Spanish Olympic gold medalist Marina Alabau says she got Zika while training in Brazil in December, suffering painful symptoms in an experience that the wind surfer says won't stop her from competing in the Games in August. The AP reports Alabau describes symptoms that her doctor said were in line with Zika. Brazil is an epicenter of Zika, and fear about the virus could scare fans and some athletes from coming to the South American country's first Olympics. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and sports authorities preparing for hundreds of thousands of visitors to the country have said the Games will be held as scheduled in August.

Despite some very difficult days after getting Zika, the 30-year-old Alabau nevertheless has urged her fellow athletes not to worry. "There is too much alarm surrounding this. I had the virus and it wasn't that bad. I didn't even go to the hospital," she says. Alabau says that while training in Rio de Janeiro on one December day, she came down with a fever. It would pass within 24 hours, but other symptoms soon followed. "Then my whole body turned red and everything itched. Two days later, my joints started aching," she says. "First it was in the fingers, then my wrists and finally my ankles. It was then that I decided to return to Spain because I was a little worried." Carmen Vaz, the Spanish wind surfing federation doctor who diagnosed Alabau, says the Zika diagnosis was based on the athlete's symptoms and not on blood work.

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