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'Handfu'l of NBC staff opt out of Rio

Associated Press Associated Press 8/06/2016 David Bauder

Savannah Guthrie of the US Today show has put a public face on what NBC says is a "small handful" of employees who will not travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics because of concern over the Zika virus.

The co-host of the morning news show, who is 44, announced she was pregnant with her second child. Brazil is the country hardest-hit by the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause severe birth defects, including babies born with abnormally small heads.

NBC is sending more than 2,000 employees to Brazil to cover the Olympics, which take place from August 5-21.

The network would not specify what it meant by a "small handful" of employees, NBC Sports spokesman Chris McCloskey said.

Guthrie is the first employee to drop out of the trip to identify herself publicly.

Many of the employees who won't make the trip to Rio are assigned instead to NBC Sports' facility in Stamford, Connecticut, just outside New York.

The network runs its digital operation from there, and even has broadcast teams that work on some of the lesser-watched sports from the Stamford offices. All of the Olympic competition is streamed online.

The World Health Organization said in Geneva on Tuesday that it will convene a special Zika emergency committee to examine the present stage of the virus.

There have been outbreaks of the virus throughout Latin America. The WHO and Centers for Disease Control recommend that pregnant women shouldn't travel to any country where Zika is spreading, including Brazil.

The WHO's director-general asked the emergency committee to examine the risks of holding the Olympics in Brazil.

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