Vaccination recommendations for Saudi Arabia - Hajj 2010
Requirements and recommendations for entry visas for the Hajj seasons in 2010 have been published in the latest issue of the Saudi Arabian "Journal of Infectious Diseases and Public Health".2
The Hajj, is the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The exact dates of Islamic holidays cannot be determined in advance, due to the nature of the Islamic lunar but it is expected to fall in mid November, 2010.
During the Hajj, more than 2 million Muslims from all over the world congregate to perform their religious rituals. The potential for spread of infectious diseases associated with this pilgrimage has long been recognized. Throughout its 14-century history, the Hajj has been witness to a series of major health issues: historical records document outbreaks of plague and cholera, involving large numbers of pilgrims, when quarantine was the prime means of control.3
Overcrowding contributes to the potential dissemination of airborne infectious diseases or infections associated with person-to-person transmission. Extensive outbreaks of meningococcal disease among pilgrims have prompted the Saudi Arabian health authorities to introduce mandatory vaccination.3
Recommended vaccinations for pilgrims travelling from Ireland:
- Routine vaccinations (such as measles, mumps, poliomyelitis, tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis B) should be up to date
- Quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (A, C, Y and W135). All adults and children over the age of 2 years are required to demonstrate vaccination with 1 dose of quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (ACYW135) issued not more than 3 years previously and not less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- Seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions (e.g. the elderly, people with chronic chest or heart diseases or cardiac, hepatic or renal failure)
- Pneumococcal vaccination for those aged over 65 years and those who would benefit from it because of underlying medical conditions
- Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for non-immune pilgrims
- WHO update. Hajj 2010 available at http://www.who.int/ith/updates/20100930/en/
- Memish ZA. Health conditions for travelers to Saudi Arabia for (Hajj) for the year 1431H/2010. JIPH (2010) 3, 92—94, available at http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/1876-0341/PIIS1876034110000717.pdf
- WHO's International Travel and Health book, Chapter 9. Special groups of travelers available at http://www.who.int/ith/ITH2010chapter9.pdf