Health News of Tuesday, 17 September 2013
Health experts from the UK-based Association of British Hujjaj (ABH) a national Hajj organization have issued a stern warning to pilgrims from around the world to take the threat of Coronavirus in Saudi Arabia seriously.
The say the pilgrims must make every effort to take precautionary health measures to safeguard their health and well-being prior to their departure.
In a press statement issued Monday, ABH observed that "Hajj pilgrims have always been at high risk due to crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and on public transport. The lethal infectious disease Coronavirus has emerged this year as a great threat to pilgrims and has already claimed over 45 lives only in Saudi Arabia."
They said pilgrims who develop a significant acute respiratory illness with fever and cough during their pilgrimage should minimize contact with others to keep from infecting them, and seek medical assistance immediately.
They advise that infected persons must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to contain the spread of the disease.
The Saudi government in July this year warned pilgrims coming into the country to cover their mouths with a mask while in crowded places - or risk spreading a deadly disease.
As at September 7, 2013 the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed a total of 114 deaths resulting from the infection - also known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - in Saudi Arabia.
National Hajj Committee (NHC) begins this year's Hajj on Tuesday September 17 with the first flight from Accra to Medina, Saudi Arabia.