The World Health Organization’s (WHO) is warning soccer fans traveling
to Poland and the Ukraine for the Euro 2012 soccer championship that they have an elevated risk of contracting measles, polio, TB, an STD or a botulism infection. And that they should remember to drink plenty of water. Just not the tap water.
WHO’s travel advisory for Euro 2012 fans, 12,000 of whom are expected to attend the championship games in June and July, warns travelers that botulism is a serious, sometimes fatal foodborne illness usually associated with improperly prepared food.
And that heat from being outdoors at the games or indoors in hotels without air conditioning could cause dehydration and fans should drink plenty of water. But not tap water, unless they know it to be safe.
In addition to the usual recommendation to make sure all vaccinations are current, the advisory states that measles and polio vaccinations are especially important. In 2011, over 31,000 cases of measles were reported in the European Region, some of which proved fatal for teens and adults.
“If you are between 15 and 29 and not vaccinated or immune, you are particularly at risk. It is very strongly recommended that you are vaccinated against measles and rubella in sufficient time before you travel to EURO 2012. If you are not, you risk being infected and you may spread measles to others.”
The risk of tuberculosis (TB), is also a concern. On WHO’s list of the 27 countries with the highest rate of TB, Ukraine was fifth. And most of the cases were linked to antibiotic resistant strains.
The advisory also reminds fans that condoms are the only way to prevent the transmission of STDs which are fairly common in Poland and Ukraine. Ukraine has the second highest rates of HIV and AIDS in all of Central and Eastern Europe, according to AVERT, the international HIV and AIDS charity.