Pilgrimage to Mecca

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Each year, more than two million people make a pilgrimage (Hadj or Umrah) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The gathering of so many people from all over the world increases the risk of infections such as influenza or MERS. This applies primarily to pilgrims with health problems.

In addition, the heat and fatigue can cause problems.

Prevention

Meningococci ACWY

The meningococci ACWY vaccination is compulsory for all pilgrims from two years of age. The vaccination must be administered no less than ten days prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia. The vaccination certificate is valid for three or five years, depending on the type of vaccine that was used.

Basic vaccinations

Ensure that your basic vaccinations are up to date.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travellers.

MERS

Protect yourself against MERS. Do you have a chronic illness, are you pregnant or over the age of 65 years, or are you travelling with a child younger than 12 years? Discuss with your doctor whether it is wise to pursue the pilgrimage due to the increased risk of MERS.

Hygiene

Ensure that barbers always use a new blade, or bring one with you.

Sun

Protect yourself against the harsh sunlight and - for example - postpone rituals until after sunset.

Footwear

Protect your feet against the hot sand by wearing sensible shoes.

Drink plenty of fluids

You will sweat more when the weather is hot. Drink sufficient water to prevent dehydration.

Africa and Asia

Extra measures may be compulsory when departing from certain countries in Africa or Asia. The relevant embassies can inform you about these measures.

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