The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship or Euro 2012 is ready to kick off next Friday and hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to converge on the hosting countries of Poland and Ukraine and health officials are warning about some health risks that may be encountered.
Both the British Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued warnings this week concerning measles in that part of Europe.
Both health agencies are urging travelers to the Ukraine for the football championship to ensure their vaccines are up-to-date.
The HPA said Monday that vaccine shortages in the Ukraine for the past two years have led to more than a million unvaccinated children in the country.
The CDC issued a measles outbreak notice Friday reporting the seriousness of the situation in Ukraine:
As of May 14, 2012, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported 9,173 suspected measles cases in 2012, mostly in the western regions of the country.
The HPA expect the measles outbreak to continue to increase during its peak transmission season until June.
And the Ukraine is not alone; measles is a big problem in many European countries, where many of the fans will be traveling from.
Naturally, anytime you get that many people to assemble in one area, some unvaccinated and susceptible, the risks of respiratory infections increase dramatically. Ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date for other respiratory illnesses like influenza would also be advised.
In addition, anytime you get a large amount of out-of-towners coming to an area, the prostitutes will be there looking for business.
In the US, we see this when big events occur like the Super Bowl, and this is expected with the political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte this summer.
Not surprisingly, Ukraine’s sex industry is also gearing up for Euro 2012. In a Channel News Asia story Wednesday, it is reported that “Kiev’s prostitutes are preparing actively for Euro 2012,” one Ukrainian sex site said, claiming that some are even studying the history of the 16 nations taking part in the tournament, plus the basics of football, to get a competitive edge.
This has drawn the ire of the feminist group, Femen and Anna Hutsol, who is targeting the upcoming Euro 2012. They warn against the rise of sex tourism in Ukraine under the banner of “Ukraine is not a brothel”.
Prostitution is big business in Ukraine since becoming a misdemeanor six years ago. The country now hosts somewhere around 70,000 sex workers, and with prostitution comes sexually transmitted diseases of all kinds.
HIV for instance has become a major problem in the Ukraine which currently has Eastern Europe and Central Asia’s highest rates of HIV infection. Sexual intercourse is the main form of transmission in the country. Formerly, it was injecting drug use.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report at least 350,000 people aged 15 and over up in the nation of 46 million are living with the HIV virus that can lead to AIDS. Ukrainian prostitutes carry a high percentage of HIV positive people.
The UEFA has even started a campaign urging football fans to where a condom when having sex—prostitute or otherwise.
If you are traveling to partake in the Euro 2012 championship, ensure you take all the necessary precautions to avoid bringing an infectious disease back home with you.