Concerns over the continued spread of H1N1 have put the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the spotlight as a potential source of disease transmission and pandemic outbreak. Steps have been taken since June 2009 by the Saudi government, as well as by other countries and the World Health Organization, to improve preparedness and increase awareness. However, as pilgrims gather this week for the Hajj, Saudi health officials have announced that 70 pilgrims have been infected with H1N1, four of whom have lost their lives to the disease thus far. This Alert seeks to highlight that despite the complex circumstances surrounding pandemic preparedness during the Hajj, successful mitigation of a pandemic spread is possible with efficient multi-sectoral cooperation amongst Hajj officials and pilgrims. Such efforts must also be given greater emphasis in the media so as to ensure accurate and holistic reporting of events thereby reduce the likelihood of media hypes of a pandemic outbreak.
Bulletins and Newsletters / Non-Traditional Security
Last updated on 21/10/2014