This year, the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, will take place from 9 to 15 September. Like every year, several million pilgrims will go to Mecca to take part in this religious event.
Pilgrims are at highly increased risk for infectious diseases transmitted by nutrition (e.g. travellers’ diarrhoea), interpersonal contact (e.g. meningitis or bacterial inflammation of the protective membranes) and coughing (e.g. seasonal flu and MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus).
We advise people travelling to the Arabian Peninsula to take the following precautions in order to reduce the risk of infection:
Ensure that you are up to date with the following vaccines:
In order to obtain a visa for Saudi Arabia, evidence of a meningitis vaccine is required. Belgium offers two vaccines that meet the requirements: Nimenrix® and Menveo® (a four-dose conjugate vaccine against meningococcal meningitis, ACYW135).
Highly recommended vaccines
Travellers who present with symptoms such as fever, coughing or respiratory problems less than two weeks after their return from the Arabian Peninsula must consult a doctor as soon as possible to exclude the possibility of MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus). If, upon your return, you are running a fever and coughing, consider the possibility of MERS-CoV and steer clear of other people. In addition, cover your mouth and nose with a paper towel when sneezing or coughing, throw the tissues into a rubbish bin with a lid and be sure to wash your hands afterwards. Specialist Belgian hospitals will be able to make a diagnosis and administer the right type of care.