Doctors are warning that Muslims making their spiritual pilgrimage to the Mecca are at risk of bringing rare diseases home.
Those who undertake the Hajj this year will be mixing with people from nations with far poorer vaccination standards and may contract a preventable disease.
What is the Hajj?
- Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
- Mecca is a city in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia.
- The city is the birthplace of Muhammad and the site of his first revelation of the Quran.
- More than three million Muslims travel to Mecca each year.
Measles and polio are among the most common diseases they could be exposed to in Mecca.
Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gannon told the Daily Telegraph immunisation programs in some Middle Eastern countries have been undermined.
There are only two or three countries in the world where polio remains a threat and according to Dr Gannon that includes Afghanisatan and Pakistan.
Dr Gannon is also worried about the variety of Muslim countries that partake in the esteemed venture and how they come from a range of Western and third-world cultures with varying degrees of health services.
‘It is the perfect environment for the spread of highly infectious diseases like measles,’ he said.
‘What we have seen in recent years is that under-vaccinated adults visiting Indonesia and Malaysia have acquired measles from those returning from the Hajj. It’s a reminder that we live in one world.’
Ideally all Muslims who hope to complete the pilgrimage should be vaccinated before they make the trip from August 30 to September 4.
Measles and the almost eradicated polio disease are among the most common illnesses they might be exposed too if vaccinations are not kept in check
Source credit – Daily Mail Australia