Hajj pilgrims urged to vaccinate against meningitis and influenza; Fear of MERS spread continues
Pilgrims travelling to Mecca for Hajj have been advised to vaccinate themselves against meningitis and influenza.
Infectious Disease Consultant at Hamad General Hospital, Dr. Hussam Al Sa’oub has said this has to be done at least two weeks before starting their trip towards the holy city of Mecca. (However, the advisory was released only last evening, while Saudi Arabia has announced that Eid Al Adha falls on October 15.)
“Pilgrims with respiratory, cardiac or immunodeficiency conditions should receive an additional vaccination, the pneumococcal vaccine, in order to avoid serious complications they may suffer if they become ill during the pilgrimage season,” added Dr. Al Sa’oub.
MERS outbreak feared
Meanwhile, scientists have expressed concern on a MERS outbreak during Hajj.
WHO had also expressed concern earlier on the spread of MERS during pilgrimage season.
From September 2012 to date, there have been 58 deaths of the 130 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, according to WHO, and this includes two deaths in Qatar.