1996 - Health conditions for travellers to Saudi Arabia - Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
03 December 1996
Disease Outbreak Reported
The Saudi Ministry of Health has issued requirements for the forthcoming Hajj season, as follows:
I. Yellow fever:
II. Meningococcal meningitis
Visitors from these countries will be checked at entry points to ensure that they are vaccinated. Suspect cases, shall be isolated and preventive measures will be taken in respect of their direct contacts. If the authenticity of the vaccination certificate is felt to be questionable, revaccination is to be carried out.
Chemoprophylaxis will be administered to all visitors from these countries to lower the carrier rate among them.
Visitors arriving for pilgrimage or "Umra" purposes from the countries of the former USSR are requested to present a certificate indicating diphtheria vaccination. They will also be given one does of benzathene penicillin as follows:
600 000 units for persons weighing less than 30 kg; 1 200 000 units for adults and children weighing more than 30 kg.
Those allergic to penicillin should, instead, be given erythromycin, as follows:
For all the above, certificates should be issued either in Arabic, English or French; in addition, a copy in the official language of the country of origin may be enclosed.
IV. Epidemiological surveillance
Tight control is exercised on entry points in respect of pilgrims and "Umra" visitors, and thorough surveillance shall be made in respect of visitors coming from countries infected with diseases subject to the International Health Regulations, in addition to isolation of suspect cases and surveillance of their contacts.
Foods carried by visitors and pilgrims are banned and not allowed into the country. Special rules apply for foods imported for commercial purposes.
The above, as well as all circulars issued in this respect, shall be strictly adhered to during the pilgrimage and "Umra" seasons.
WHO comment: This is to inform visitors of the full requirements for entry into the country; it does not mean an endorsement by WHO of all measures stipulated. Saudi Arabia is enforcing these measures in accordance with International Health Regulations (1969) Part VIII, article 84 which states "Migrants, nomads, seasonal workers or persons taking part in periodic mass congregations, and any ship, in particular small boats for international coastal traffice, aircraft, train, road vehicle or other means of transport carrying them, may be subjected to additional health measures conforming with the laws and regulations of each State concerned, and with any agreement concluded between any such States."