Rapid risk assessment: Mass gathering event, FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018

Risk assessment

 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Mass gathering event – FIFA World Cup, Russia, 2018 – 28 May 2018. ECDC; Stockholm, 2018. 

The aim of this document is to assess the health risks related to communicable diseases for EU/EEA citizens during their stay in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the public health implications for European countries after travellers return to their countries. This assessment provides the basis for ECDC’s monitoring of health threats during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Executive summary

Before visiting the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which will be taking place from 14 June to 15 July, visitors should ensure that all their vaccinations are up-to-date in accordance with the recommended immunisation schedule in their country of residence. This is particularly important for protection against diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, meningococcal infection, mumps, pertussis, poliomyelitis rubella and tetanus.

As is often the case with mass gathering events, during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia visitors may be most at risk of gastrointestinal illness and vaccine-preventable infections.

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

Visitors to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia are advised to use condoms with new or casual sexual partners in order to decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.  

Travellers who require hospitalisation in the EU after having been hospitalised in Russia should report their previous hospitalisation so as not to delay the possible ascertainment of recent healthcare-associated infections.

Outbreaks and spread of vaccine-preventable diseases are of particular concern during mass gatherings but there are no indications that the risk is higher than usual. Proper vaccination in advance is an effective way of preventing the contracting and further spread of vaccine-preventable infections. Therefore those planning to attend may need to consult the relevant health service provider in their country regarding their vaccination status.

There is a possibility that travellers may import or export communicable diseases. Surveillance for communicable diseases in Russia and EU countries to which travellers and World Cup attendees return should be sensitive enough to detect threats at a stage when interventions are likely to prevent or reduce the impact of outbreaks.  

Based on the epidemiological profile for infectious diseases in Russia and the profile of the visiting populations, ECDC will conduct enhanced epidemic intelligence surveillance for communicable diseases from 7 June to 22 July 2018.