Football fans risk being literally as "sick as a parrot" whether their teams win or lose at this summer's Euro 2008 games.
Football fans risk being literally as "sick as a parrot" whether their teams win or lose at this summer's Euro 2008 games in Switzerland due to a measles epidemic, health authorities warned Wednesday.
Switzerland has been in the grip of a measles epidemic for more than a year and it has not yet been brought under control, the head of the Federal Vaccinations Commission Claire-Anne Siegrist said.
This means that fans risk catching the virus and taking it back to their home countries, Siegrist told Switzerland's French-language radio.
Federal Health Office spokesman Jean-Louis Zurcher added that people travelling to Switzerland should check their vaccinal status.
The landlocked Alpine state topped a list of European countries which have seen an alarming rise in measles cases in the past year, according to a European Union report issued last week.
"We're moving in the wrong direction," said Ben Duncan, a spokesman for the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, noting that the World Health Organisation aims to rid Europe of measles by 2010.
Measles is a highly contagious disease characterised by high fever and the eruption of small red spots that kills about one person for every 1,000 infections.