Los Angeles (AFP) - United States swimming star Missy Franklin on Monday shrugged off the possible threat posed by the Zika virus to athletes at August's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as team officials outlined precautions to protect competitors.
Franklin, one of the stars of the 2012 London Olympics, said she was unfazed by the series of headlines emerging from Brazil in recent months, which has seen 1.5 million cases of the Zika virus since 2015.
The virus has been linked to a rise in microcephaly, in which an infected mother's baby is born with an abnormally small head as well as the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Franklin, however, said she was happy to place her trust in directives from the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and health authorities.
"We're very aware of it but for us this is just one of those things that comes up that's really out of our control," Franklin told reporters as the US Olympic team media summit got under way.
"I just trust that the USOC and USA Swimming always prepares us for whatever we're going to encounter and I trust they'll do the same thing there. I'm honestly not thinking about it," the 20-year-old added.
"I'm concentrating on training and that's where my attention is right now."
Franklin's stance was echoed by teammate Natalie Coughlin, the triple Olympic gold medalist who is aiming to compete in her fourth Olympics in Rio.
"It's all about prevention and learning about the disease. I've been to parts of Africa where malaria is rampant," Coughlin said.
"You treat your clothes, you wear spray -- there's always things that are beyond our control at the Olympic Games and this is just one of them."
USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said athletes would be given exhaustive briefings on steps to protect themselves against Zika.
"We want to mitigate on the ground to the greatest extent possible. We'll be providing advice on things like mosquito netting, bug repellent and standing water and clothing and all the things that can lessen the likelihood of infection," Blackmun said.
Although United States women's soccer star Hope Solo said last month she would be reluctant to travel to Brazil over the Zika, Blackmun said so far he was unaware of any athlete who was planning to pull out of the Games.
"It will be up to each individual athlete to make his or her decision about whether or not they want to attend," Blackmun said.
"I'm not aware of a single athlete who has made a decision not to attend because of any conditions in Rio."