UEFA wishes to advertise a series of recommendations relating to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic that came out of the recent meeting of medical leaders from the international team sports federations, at which FIFA represented European football.
Planning for H1N1
The group of physicians who attended the meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 1 November discussed, among other medical issues, planning for the H1N1 pandemic at international and national sporting events. In consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO), they made the following recommendations:
• Players diagnosed with H1N1, by laboratory confirmation, should refrain from any sporting activities for a minimum of seven days after the appearance of the first symptoms.
• Single dose vaccination against the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus is recommended, as a preventive measure. Players should not have symptoms of the flu at the time of vaccination. Players who have an allergy to the egg protein should consult their physician before getting the vaccine.
• Education for all players and their entourage of the strict rules of prevention such as hand-washing, use of individual water bottles and towels, coughing etiquette and avoidance of contact with infected people.
• All players diagnosed with the H1N1 virus should be removed from competition and be isolated from the team until the player is no longer contagious to prevent further spread of the virus.
• Concerning the potential for postponement of competitions and sporting events, the medical representatives of team sports do not advise cancellation or postponement of national and international competitions in the current situation. However, should global public health conditions relating to the pandemic deteriorate, this position would be reconsidered.
• Regular consultation of the WHO webpage (who.int) is highly recommended. Specific technical advice pertaining to sporting events during the pandemic can be requested of the WHO Mass Gathering Team (firstname.lastname@example.org). Currently, the WHO has not recommended any restrictions for national or international travel.
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