Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Department of Health advice for Umra and Hajj|
|11/06/01 at 04:03:00|
|[center]HEALTH ADVICE FOR HAJJ & UMRAH TRAVELLERS [/center]|
Protect yourself and your family
The pilgrimage to Hajj or Umrah is a lifetime experience, but your journey could be ruined by illness.This leaflet explains some of the risks and offers advice on how to avoid them.It is aimed at helping you make your journey as illness free as possible.
Meningitis is a very real and serious risk for you and your family.You could also bring the meningitis germs back to your family and friends at home. A dangerous strain of meningitis has affected travellers to the Hajj in the last two years, and last year 10 people died after contracting it.
Pilgrims for Hajj or Umrah are required by the Government of Saudi Arabia to have a valid certificate of vaccination against meningitis before they are issued with a visa. Please make sure that:
You get the right vaccine.
[color=Red]The usual meningitis vaccines do not protect you against the new strain, so you need to make sure your doctor gives you the 'quadrivalent' meningococcal vaccine (ACWY Vac) which protects against four different strains of meningitis:A, C, W135 and Y.[/color]
You and your family get this vaccine even if you have had a different meningitis vaccine in the past.
Neither the meningitis vaccine your children will have had as part of their routine vaccinations (called Men C),nor the vaccine previously recommended for travel will give you the protection you need.
You get a certificate after having had the injection.
Talk to your doctor if you are in any doubt or phone NHS Direct on 0845 46 47*. NHS Direct can provide confidential interpreters, in many languages including Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Arabic,Turkish and Somali, within minutes of your call. All you need to do is state in English the language you would prefer to use.
The vaccination and certificate are available from your GP or from a specialist travel health centre.
*Calls charged at local rates.
Why has the recommendation changed from previous years ?
[color=Red]Vaccination against meningitis A and C infection has been routinely recommended for travellers to the Hajj or Umrah.However, in March 2000 an outbreak of W135 meningococcal disease occurred among pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia following that year’s Hajj pilgrimage. A total of 45 cases were identified in UK residents who had either recently returned from the Hajj or had come into close contact with returning pilgrims, and 8 people died.This pattern
was unfortunately repeated in 2001, when there were 34 cases of W135 infection and 10 deaths in the UK.[/color]
Why do I need this quadrivalent immunisation for Hajj ?
The W135 strain of meningitis is deadly and differs from other meningitis strains usually caught in the UK. Previous vaccination against meningitis A and C does not protect you against the W135 strain. Receiving this quadrivalent vaccination will not only protect you, but will substantially reduce the risk of infecting your friends, family and community on your return.
The Saudi Arabian Go vernment has this year made vaccination against the ACWY strains a visa requirement, so you may be refused entry if you do not ha ve a valid certificate showing that you have received this quadrivalent meningitis vaccination.
Pilgrims are strongly advised to book an appointment with their GP three or more weeks before travel to allow time for the practice to order the ACWY vaccine, and to allow sufficient time for it to become fully effective. Please take a copy of the leaflet with you to your GP.
Travelling anywhere in the world brings with it some risk to health.Travel on Hajj or Umrah carries additional risks because:
The weather is likely to be hotter than you are used to
You will be in very large crowds
You may have to walk long distances
Clean water and sanitation are difficult to maintain in these circumstances
However, by taking certain - often simple - steps, you can minimise your exposure to almost any health hazard.Please take time to read these simple tips, and you and your family will reduce the risk of falling ill at Hajj or Umrah.
Don't leave your preparations too late - start them in good time. Ask your doctor about other vaccinations you should ha ve before you go
If you suffer from any ailment such as a heart or chest condition or diabetes, tell your doctor or specialist that you are planning to undertake this journey and ask their advice on how to reduce your chances of becoming ill. Also ask them for a report to carry with you, with a list of your usual medications
If you are on any medication from your doctor, make sure you have enough for the whole trip and carry it with you
Take an umbrella and sun cream to protect against the sun
Make sure you carry with you plenty of clean drinking water
Try to get plenty of rest
Keep all your belongings and sur roundings as clean as possible at all times
We hope you have a trouble free journey
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