MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Officials: Dutch soccer fans should get measles vaccination

Health officials with the Netherlands' Ministry of Public Health have advised Dutch soccer fans planning to travel to the European Championship matches in June and July in Poland and Ukraine to get measles vaccinations.

Ukraine is currently suffering a measles epidemic in the western part of the country near the border with its co-host, Poland. The championship runs from June 8 to July 1, Bloomberg reports.

Measles is an extremely infectious virus in humans. More than 6,000 cases have been reported in Ukraine in 2012. The epidemic is expected to accelerate in the run up to the beginning of the matches.

"Most Dutch people are well protected against measles," the ministry's National Institute for Public Health and Environment said, according to Bloomberg. "The advice therefore applies to people who haven't been vaccinated against measles and who haven't had the disease in the past."

All Dutch children are offered a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination as part of a program since 1976. Before the program, nearly all children were exposed to the disease naturally to build up an immunity.

Euro 2012 is one of the biggest soccer tournaments in the world. In 2008, it attracted approximately one million spectators when it was held in Switzerland and Australia. Ukraine-bound travelers are advised to also get vaccinations against hepatitis A, diphtheria, polio and tetanus, and to avoid cats and dogs due to circulating rabies in both countries.