Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University, says it would be irresponsible to hold the Olympic Games this summer in Brazil due to the Zika virus outbreak.
"Athletes may still want to go to Rio," Caplan wrote in Forbes. "But there is no way the International Olympic Committee should let them."
The World Health Organization has called the outbreak a "public health emergency," but so far Brazil is still on track to welcome as many as 380,000 visitors for the games.
• From A to Zika: What you need to know about the virus
Caplan joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about the risks of Zika, which can be transmitted by mosquito bites or sexual contact, for both athletes and tourists.
"It's going to be very difficult to control the mosquitoes," Caplan said. "This particular species of mosquitoes, what they really like is plastic trash because it collects water. You can breed a whole slew of mosquitoes in a bottle cap. ... Rio has many, many, many poor neighborhoods with oodles of trash that is never collected."
Caplan cited concerns that Zika could spread back to tourists' home countries.
"If this virus gets into the blood supply through blood donation, it's putting people at risk far, far away from Rio. If you bring the whole world there and they get bitten or they have sex without condoms and transmit it to each other, they're bringing it back to the entire world very quickly," Caplan said.
Postponing the Olympics by 9 months or a year could alleviate some of the issues, Caplan said. That time could allow for additional mosquito control or the development of a vaccine or treatment for Zika.
"The Olympic Committee has so far come and out and said, yeah, if you're worried about Zika, you can not go to Rio, and there won't be any penalty," Caplan said. "So they're clearly thinking about it."