Dutch soccer fans planning to travel to European Championship matches in Poland and Ukraine in June and July should make sure they’re vaccinated against measles, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Public Health said.
Ukraine, which organizes the soccer championship together with Poland from June 8 to July 1, is suffering from a measles epidemic in the country’s west near the border with its co-host, the ministry wrote on its website today.
Measles is one of the most infectious viruses for humans. More than 6,000 cases have been reported in Ukraine this year and the epidemic is expected to accelerate in the run up to the start of the matches in June, according to the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
“Most Dutch people are well protected against measles,” the ministry’s National Institute for Public Health and Environment said. “The advice therefore applies to people who haven’t been vaccinated against measles and who haven’t had the disease in the past.”
Since 1976, all Dutch children are offered a jab against measles, mumps and rubella through a national vaccination program, while before the program almost all children were exposed to the disease naturally, building up lifelong immunity, according to the ministry.
The European Championship, known as Euro 2012 for this year’s edition, is one of soccer’s biggest tournaments after the World Cup. It attracted about 1 million spectators in 2008 when it was held in Austria and Switzerland.
Travellers to Ukraine are also advised to vaccinate against hepatitis A and diphtheria, tetanus and polio, according to the notice. Rabies circulates in both Poland and Ukraine, and travellers should avoid contact with cats and dogs, it said.
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