UN health officials are advising those travelling to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to ensure that they´re up-to-date with all their vaccinations, including the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).
The increase in international travel and the mass movement of people during events such as the World Cup increases the risk of transmission of diseases. It also increases the likelihood of travelers returning to their countries with diseases such as measles, which is highly contagious and can have grave consequences on the health of unvaccinated populations.
“We recommend that people get vaccinated at least 15 days prior to travel,” saidCuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus, Head of the Comprehensive Family Immunization Unit at PAHO. “Those travelling to Russia should make sure that their vaccines are up-to-date, particularly those that protect against measles and rubella.”
Last year, the number of new cases of measles in Europe quadrupled, infecting 22,360 people and leading to 36 deaths. In the first three months of 2018, Europe reported more than 18,000 cases of measles. France, Greece, Serbia and Ukraine are the countries with the highest number of cases. Russia reported more than 600 cases.
Around one million people from all over the world are expected to travel to the World Cup. Of the 32 countries that will participate in the World Cup, 28 have reported cases of measles this year.