Health experts from The Association of British Hujjaj (ABH) a National Hajj & Umrah specific organisation in the UK, issues a strong warning to over 100,000 prospective British pilgrims who will travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah (lesser Hajj) during this Umrah season that they should be aware of the risks of Meningitis and must get a ‘ACW135Y Vaccine’ from their doctor, in order to protect themselves and their families before leaving for Saudi Arabia.
The health experts reminded these prospective Pilgrims that Meningitis is one of the most notorious killer diseases known to mankind, with a very high risk of mortality and disabilities. Unfortunately there have been over 20 tragic deaths amongst British Hajj pilgrims due to a Meningitis outbreak in the past. Therefore Pilgrims must take this threat seriously.
The Pilgrims are at risk of Meningitis infections 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 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. However The Association of British Hujjaj (A.B.H.) also expresses its grave concern that some unscrupulous travel and tour operators are obtaining visas for their clients without producing Meningitis certificates and therefore putting innocent lives in danger by discarding the importance of having a Meningitis vaccination.
Pilgrims are also warned that they can be checked at the Saudi airports by the Saudi authorities to ensure that they are vaccinated and so they must carry their vaccination certificate with them at all times during their visit.
“Remember: Prevention is better than cure. Be safe rather than being sorry”, said the health experts.