South African officials say H1N1 outbreak threatens World Cup

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa faces a possible health crisis if an H1N1 flu outbreak strikes during the soccer World Cup this year, the country’s health minister told parliament Feb. 15, Reuters reported.

"One of our biggest nightmares is the fact that 2010 is going to be held in June when there is a possibility of another bout of H1N1," Aaron Motsoaledi said.

The month-long tournament, hosted in Africa for the first time, is expected to attract 450,000 tourists during the South African winter.

Motsoaledi said the department of health had managed to acquire 1.3 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine and another 3.5 million doses from the World Health Organization.

"We received a letter from the World Health Organization that they are going to donate to South Africa 3.5 million doses of H1N1 which will arrive in this country by March," he said, adding that the WHO donation saved South Africa about $32.5 million.

The WHO has been in discussions with South African government officials on how to reduce the risk of the influenza spreading at the tournament.