H1N1 virus vaccinations should be taken two weeks before travel to Holy cities

Published 1 Jul 2009
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H1N1 virus vaccinations should be taken two weeks before travel to Holy cities
JEDDAH - A workshop on precautionary health measures during Hajj and Umrah yesterday recommended that the old, the infirm, pregnant women and children not perform Hajj and Umrah this year in view of the global swine flu pandemic.
According to Saudi Press Agency, Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said at a press conference following a workshop in Jeddah yesterday that the World Health Organization (WHO) experts who participated in the conference were satisfied with the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom to prevent the spread of the virus among pilgrims during the Hajj season.
The workshop recommended that Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, local residents and service providers in the holy cities should be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus at least two weeks before their departure from their home countries, the minister said.
The workshop’s major recommendations were that Saudi health authorities and Hajj delegations representing various countries stock necessary quantities of medication for treatment and prevention of the virus causing the swine flu.
The workshop also recommended that pilgrims take the new H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available later this year, before coming to Saudi Arabia. The workshop stressed the need for continuing the monitoring and checking of the spread of swine flu in the Kingdom. Practicing personal hygienic habits such as covering the nose while sneezing, coughing into tissues and washing hands with water and soap besides wearing masks while visiting crowded places were also recommended.
Quarantine facilities should be close to arrival lounges for Hajj pilgrims, according to the experts. Recording and preserving accurate data about the disease for future reference was also stressed at the workshop.
The workshop urged the importance of adhering to the health conditions issued by the Saudi Ministry of Health. The MOH and WHO annually prepare plans for awareness campaigns.
The WHO experts expect a considerable increase in cases of swine flu until a vaccine is found. At the same time, the ministry announced that six new cases of swine flu had been reported in the Kingdom, raising the number to 81.

Last Modified Date: 10/02/2013 - 4:45 PM Saudi Arabia Time


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