Rio 2016 signs insect repellent partner amid Zika worries

Off!, an insect repellent brand produced by US household chemical goods manufacturer SC Johnson, has agreed a deal to become an official partner of the 2016 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Off! will serve as the first-ever insect repellent partner of an Olympic Games. The partnership comes as Brazil continues to deal with the outbreak of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease linked to a rare birth defect and a condition that can cause paralysis.

As part of its agreement with the Games, Off!’s products will be distributed to athletes, staff, volunteers and spectators. The Globo Esporte website reported that former Brazilian track and field athlete Maurren Maggi would star in an advertising campaign to promote the partnership.

“To continue our support for the fight against mosquito-borne diseases, we will use our 60 years of expertise in mosquitoes to educate athletes, volunteers and spectators about how they can protect themselves against mosquito bites,” SC Johnson’s chief executive Fisk Johnson said, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

A number of athletes, including golfers Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, have withdrawn from the Games due to concerns surrounding Zika.

The World Health Organization (WHO) last month insisted that there is a “very low risk” of further international spread of the disease as a result of the Games taking place in Brazil.

This summer’s Olympics take place from August 5-21, with the Paralympics to be held from September 7-18.