ECDC to up surveillance around football World Cup in Russia

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Related tags: Russia, Foodborne disease outbreaks, Foodborne illness

Outbreaks are of concern during any mass gathering but there are no indications that risk is higher than usual for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, according to the ECDC.

The football tournament is from 14 June to 15 July and teams from 32 countries will attend.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said it will enhance epidemic intelligence surveillance for communicable diseases from 7 June to 22 July.

Foodborne outbreaks may occur

The high incidence of gastrointestinal infections in Russia suggests further foodborne outbreaks may occur during the event.

EU travellers to Russia may encounter locally endemic infections and specific instances related to mass gatherings (e.g. norovirus, salmonellosis, STEC infections, campylobacteriosis, giardiasis and viral gastrointestinal illness).

Limited foodborne outbreaks due to bacterial and viral infections are expected especially in the warmest part of the country where high temperatures increase the risk.

Risk of being affected by gastrointestinal illness can be reduced by hygiene measures including regular hand washing with soap, drinking safe water (bottled, chlorinated or boiled before consumption); eating thoroughly cooked food and washing fruit and vegetables with safe drinking water before eating.

Documented infectious disease threats associated with mass gatherings include Legionnaires’ disease cases during the Euro Cup in France 1998 and a norovirus outbreak during the Winter Olympics in South Korea 2018.

Russian epidemiological data

Communicable disease epidemiology reports are collected by the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor).

Only sporadic cases or outbreaks of anthrax are reported among people, mostly those working with cattle.

According to Rospotrebnadzor, in 2016 there were 36 cases of anthrax, with an outbreak in Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, 3,600 km north-east of Moscow.

The disease is endemic in bordering countries. In 2016, an outbreak was reported in neighbouring Kazakhstan.

In Russia, nine botulism cases were reported in 2017 and 12 in 2016. The majority acquired the infection after consumption of home-made fish products (dried, salted and smoked fish) and preserved mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Between 2013 and 2017, on average 330 cases of brucellosis were reported annually.

The number of salmonellosis cases ranged from 48,000 cases in 2013 to 32,308 in 2017.

In 2017, 6,651 cases of shigellosis were reported and in 2016 there were 9,655. In the preceding three years there were around 11,000 cases annually.

Around 800 cases of toxoplasmosis are reported annually, though in 2015 there were 539 and in 2014 there were 680 cases.

Cases of yersiniosis are reported throughout the year with a peak in spring (March-May). In 2010, 2,572 cases were recorded.

There are no reports on campylobacteriosis or Shiga toxin/verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in Russia.

The overall risk of a food or waterborne disease being imported from EU into Russia is very low.

Since 2012, Saudi Arabia, has reported the majority of MERS-CoV cases. Despite this, there is a very low risk of MERS-CoV being imported into Russia.

Related topics: Food safety, Food Safety

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