FOOTBALL fans in Kirklees travelling to the World Cup in South Africa should be vaccinated against swine flu, health bosses have said.

Although new cases of the pandemic virus in England are currently at low levels, the flu season in the southern hemisphere is due to start again soon.

Health officials in Kirklees are advising travellers to get vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine before they embark on their journey.

This move, they say, will reduce the risk of contracting the potentially fatal influenza virus while overseas and also help prevent the risk of the traveller bringing it back from abroad.

Travellers planning a trip to these countries, including South Africa for this summer’s World Cup tournament, should contact their GP for vaccination or further advice as soon as possible.

Dr Judith Hooper, director of public health for NHS Kirklees and Kirklees Council, said: “Even though levels of swine flu are currently low across Kirklees, it is important to bear in mind we are not in our influenza season.

“However, countries in the southern hemisphere are approaching their influenza season, which could mean swine flu circulation increases in those countries.

“Anybody who will be travelling to countries in the southern hemisphere over the next few months should consider vaccination against the virus to protect themselves and the people around them.”

The latest figures show that 456 people in the UK have died from swine flu.