Heading to Brazil later this month for the world’s largest (arguably) sporting event?
Got national team kit?
The main US public health agency is warning travelers heading to the World Cup, which kicks off on June 12, to make sure to consult a doctor beforehand. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an advisory published Monday that “travelers to Brazil for mass gathering events face unique health risks associated with their travel.” Among the preventable diseases travelers may encounter are hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, meningococcal, rabies, malaria, dengue fever and other nasty bugs (not all of which do require vaccines, mind you).
In its announcement, the agency cited several other past outbreaks of mass illness at international events: an influenza outbreak at 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney, and meningococcal outbreaks at the 2000 hajj in Saudi Arabia and a Belgian soccer tournament in 1997. It also noted that more than 1,000 people sought health care for heat-related illness at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
Brazil-bound fans should make sure to talk to a doctor to talk about precautions at least four to six weeks ahead of time, the agency said. (Which means that if you’re just becoming aware of this issue now, it may be too late to do anything about it).
Something else to consider, Joanna Gaines, in the CDC’s Geographic Medicine branch, tells VOA, is driving.
“Most of the roads in Brazil are actually not paved, and we do recommend that travelers be particularly vigilant, so really being careful when they are driving,” Gaines says. “Making sure that you’re trying to find a vehicle that does have the safety features that you want – I mean, at a minimum seat belts for sure.”
No word on recommendations for other common World Cup related maladies such as laryngitis, heartbreak or hangovers…