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Sep 25, 2009

Italy prepares players for swine flu threat

Every player in Italy could soon be vaccinated against swine flu as the country braces itself for massive outbreaks leading up to Christmas.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi said on Friday "the possibility of vaccinating all the players on every team is being considered".

Earlier this month, Italy announced its first swine flu victim was a 51-year-old man with chronic heart problems who died in a Naples hospital.

Italy expects swine flu to peak between December and January, with 1.5 million to 3 million cases. A vaccination campaign beginning November 15 will immunize up to 40% of Italy's 60 million people. The first wave of vaccinations will target 9 million, including health workers. A second wave will begin in February.

Football matches in Mexico were played in empty stadiums as a preventative measure when the disease first emerged.

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