Public Health

What Not To Bring Home From The World Cup

fan blowing vuvuzela

Losing your hearing from the vuvuzela at the World Cup may be the least of your worries. Schalk van Zuydam/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Schalk van Zuydam/AP

Believe it or not, there is something more annoying than a vuvuzela that World Cup soccer fans could be carrying home with them from South Africa this weekend.

Try measles or rubella, also known as German measles.

The Pan American Health Organization is warning soccer fans on this side of the Atlantic to be particularly wary about the symptoms of the oh-so-contagious viruses, particularly because they have finally been declared eradicated from the Americas: Measles in 2002, and rubella just last year.

South Africa, however, is not so lucky — it reported more than 16,000 cases of measles since January, 2009.

Thus, PAHO advises, anyone, whether athlete or fan, who experiences fever, rash, cough, runny nose, or conjunctivitis, to seek medical care and stay away from others for at least seven days.

PAHO is also placing posters in the arrival areas of major international airports in the Caribbean and Latin America, warning footballers and friends about the risks and urging travelers to get vaccinated.

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