Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases
September 2017 Volume 19
Expected immunizations and health protection for Hajj and Umrah 2018 —An overview
Jaffar A. Al-Tawfiq, Philippe Gautret, Ziad A. Memish
Vol. 19, p2–7
Published online: October 13, 2017
The annual Hajj and Umrah are one of the largest recurring religious mass gatherings across the globe drawing pilgrims from more than 185 countries. The living circumstances and activities of the pilgrims may create an environment for the occurrence and spread of communicable diseases. Each year, the Health authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in coordination with international health authorities, updates health requirements for pilgrims. The Hajj for 2017 took place from August 24 to September 5, 2017. Here, we review the expected obligations for immunizations for the 2018 Hajj and Umrah.
The Hajj and Umrah vaccine requirements include mandatory vaccinations against yellow fever, quadrivalent meningococcal polysaccharide (every 3 years) or conjugated (every 5 years) vaccines and poliomyelitis vaccine. Influenza vaccine utilizing the 2016 (Southern Hemisphere vaccine to all pilgrims) was recommended but was not obligatory for pilgrims. Ciprofloxacin is required for individuals >12 years excluding pregnant women as chemoprophylaxis to be given at the port of entry for Pilgrims coming from the meningitis belt. With the ongoing outbreaks of measles in Europe, it is recommended that all pilgrims have an updated immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles and mumps).
The mandatory vaccines remain the same with continued vigilance for the development of any new or emerging infectious diseases. Continuing surveillance for Zika virus, cholera and MERS-CoV are ongoing.