Kiss warning issued for rock festival due to flu

KISS basist Gene Simmons (L), lead guitarist Tommy Thayer (C) and lead singer Paul Stanley perform during the Summer Festival in Quebec City July 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

BERLIN (Reuters) - Fans attending one of the world’s biggest heavy metal festivals in Germany were asked on Thursday to avoid “hugging, kissing on the cheek, and shaking hands” lest they spread the H1N1 influenza. On its website, the health ministry of Germany’s northern Schleswig-Holstein region optimistically advised revelers to restrain from any such sociable behavior so as to minimize the infection risk at the Wacken Open Air festival, which runs until August 1.

It also recommended fans did not share bottles of beer.

“We know that kissing and what have you can’t be ruled out,” said ministry spokesman Oliver Breuer. “They’re just tips.”

Stalwart rockers Motorhead, Anthrax and Napalm Death are among the bands due to perform at the three-day festival, which organizers expect to attract about 75,000 fans.

More than 430 people worldwide have died from the flu and more than 94,000 people have been, or are, infected.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Matthew Jones