ECDC publishes mass gathering recommendations ahead of packed summer calendar


ECDC has published recommendations for public health authorities preparing for mass gathering events as Europe prepares to host a range of high-profile events including the UEFA 2024 final tournament across Germany and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

“This summer, Europe will host a variety of exciting sporting and cultural events. At ECDC we focus on doing everything we can to support member states in making these events a success while safeguarding public health in the EU/EEA. Preparedness is paramount, and with a strong, robust plan evidence shows that any outbreaks associated with large events are relatively small – even during the pandemic. I am confident that ECDC’s support for Paris 2024 will contribute to people taking home good memories rather than ill health,” says Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director.

Focused on infectious diseases, the recommendations examined what outbreaks or increases in transmission linked to mass gatherings have been observed over the last 10 years, and the preparedness and response activities implemented by host countries. The recommendations are based on the Centre’s experience and a rapid review of articles published about public health preparedness and reported outbreaks surrounding mass gatherings published over the last decade. ECDC’s experts underline that enhanced surveillance, risk communication, community engagement and infodemic management activities put in place in advance of a mass gathering or event are effective in limiting or even preventing outbreaks from occurring.

Starting early in a multisectoral collaborative approach including the public health authorities, producing national risk assessments, and enhancing existing surveillance systems are of vital importance. Moreover, distributing information covering hygiene, recommended immunisations, safe sex practices, and how and where to seek medical help before, during and after large events plays an important role in the prevention and mitigation of any outbreaks. After events, ECDC experts stress the need to identify lessons that can be shared with other countries. 

The publication of the considerations comes after ECDC’s collaboration with the World Health Organization and the German Federal Centre for Health Education (RKI) that produced specific public health advice for people attending the UEFA 2024 Football Cup in Germany. Roughly 2.8 million people are expected to watch the tournament across stadiums in 10 cities and in dedicated fan zones. ECDC will support RKI in Germany for the UEFA 2024 Football Cup and Santé Publique France for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games with enhanced epidemic intelligence activities by monitoring international signals. More than 11 million visitors are expected to attend the Paris Olympics and a further 3.8 million for the Paralympics.

ECDC’s mandate was expanded at the end of 2022 to enable the Centre to adopt a stronger role in supporting EU Member States in the prevention and control of infectious disease threats and to improve European preparedness and response ahead of future public health challenges.