Health experts from the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH) a National Hajj & Umrah specific organisation in the UK, issues a stern warning to prospective Hajj pilgrims who are travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage next month. Hajj pilgrims should be aware of the risks of contracting infectious diseases including Meningitis.
The health experts warn that meningitis is one of the most notorious killer diseases known to mankind, with a very high risk of mortality and disabilities. Unfortunately there has been an outbreak of meningitis in the past during Hajj pilgrimage where a substantial number of innocent pilgrims died including over 20 tragic deaths amongst British Hajj pilgrims.
Pilgrims are reminded that they are at high risk of contracting infectious diseases, including meningitis due to the crowded condition at ceremonies, accommodation sites, and public transport. Meningococcal infection is transmitted through direct person-to-person contact with droplets of nasal or throat secretions of infected individuals, and close and prolonged contact (e.g. sneezing and coughing on someone, etc.) facilitates the spread of infection. The most common symptoms of meningitis are stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting.
Meningitis vaccination is a mandatory legal requirement by the Saudi authorities to issue them entry visa for Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims are strongly urged to get their meningitis vaccine from their doctor, in order to protect themselves and their families before leaving for Hajj pilgrimage. They will also be checked at the Saudi airports by the authorities to ensure that they are vaccinated so they must carry their vaccination certificate with them at all times.
“Remember: prevention is better than cure. Be safe rather than being sorry”, said the health experts from ABH.