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The eyes of the world were on Brazil in the summer of 2016 as tens of thousands of visitors and athletes arrived for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The health and safety of everyone attending the Games were of absolute importance to the International Olympic Committee.
Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Rentokil was appointed to undertake pest control and mosquito control services by the Rio Organising Committee. Rentokil is Brazil’s leading provider of pest control services and has been supporting businesses, public authorities and residential customers since 2012.
We commenced work for the Games in May 2016, providing an intensive range of preventative pest control services in the Athletes’ Village, Operating Village, three media villages, arenas, stadiums and the Olympic Parks, including hospitality areas.
A core team of 20 technicians provided a full range of services to prevent infestations of rodents, flies, insects, birds and mosquitoes. Each member of the team undertook additional technical and operational training to work under the specific procedures of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee.
Our Rentokil team was able to monitor and implement new applications where required, and was available 24/7 to undertake preventive and corrective services as required, particularly in priority areas such as the Athletes’ Village.
Knowledge of the local area was critical to our success. The local environment included ground marshes, areas of environmental protection, dense vegetation, rivers, lakes and waterfalls — all of which were seen as areas of potential risk. Rentokil’s approach to proactive pest control ensured that a detailed pre-survey, prevention plan and technical performance targets were presented and approved by the Organising Committee.
Each target (such as ‘speed of response’) was tracked daily with full transparency of results and ultimately delivered in full.
Much attention ahead of the Games focused on the harrowing effects of the Zika virus in Brazil and around the world. This made the safety of competitors and visitors take even more prominence.
Rentokil set about delivering the most extensive mosquito control programme ever undertaken for an event of this scale. The sites had large areas of open water, poor sanitation in parts of Rio and high temperatures — ideal conditions in which larvae can develop.
The combination of Rentokil’s service, highly trained and dedicated technicians and the introduction of new innovations, such as MIRA360 and ultrasonic pulses delivered a highly effective prevention service.
Rentokil’s MIRA 360° mosquito control programme was used for the first time at a major event. MIRA 360° (Monitoramento Inteligente Rentokil de Aedes aegypti) included a combination of methodologies that disrupt the mosquito life-cycle in the larvae-to-adult phase. The programme featured:
Our mosquito programme was also used by specific Olympic teams and hotels around their own properties.
During the Games we used for the first time an innovative, non-chemical treatment using ultrasonic pulses to kill larvae in open water, reducing the mosquito larvae population by over 90%.
In August 2016 the WHO Zika Committee congratulated Brazil on its successful application of appropriate public health measures during the Olympic Games.
It also confirmed that there had been no reports of confirmed cases of Zika virus infection among people who attended the Games.
Read an overview of how you get the disease, the symptoms and how to avoid catching Zika
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