World - travel advice on MERS-CoV for pilgrimages
World Health Organization interim travel advice on MERS-CoV for pilgrimages to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
25 July 2013
An outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first reported in 2012, has affected nine countries to date. WHO is coordinating the global response to this emerging virus according to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). This paper provides guidance to national authorities of countries from which pilgrims will be travelling in the coming months for Umra and Hajj for the prevention, detection and management of imported cases of MERS-CoV. At this time, the risk to an individual pilgrim of contracting MERS-CoV is considered very low.
II. Effective communication of risk information
It is important for countries to use all practical and effective means possible to communicate information on a range of issues before, during and after Umra and Hajj to all key groups, including the following:
- travellers to Umra and Hajj, particularly vulnerable groups within this population;
- public health officials;
- health care staff responsible for the care of ill pilgrims;
- public transportation and tourism industries; and
- the general public.