WHO Advice for Healthy Travel to Saudi Arabia

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One of the newest and deadliest respiratory viruses, the novel coronavirus or MERS, have first appeared in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And as many people from all around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, are expected to travel to Mecca in July and August, there are several precautions to be taken, according to the World Health Organization.

Since September 2012, more than 50 cases of MERS have been confirmed globally, half of which have ended in deaths. Most of the cases occurred in Saudi Arabia, so everyone travelling to the kingdom should take into account WHO’s latest update of travel recommendations for this region, which was issued on June 5th, 2013. The mode of transmission of MERS is still unknown, although there were cases of human-to-human infection. Generally, the MERS virus causes pneumonia, but it can also lead to kidney failure. The most common symptoms include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, and sometimes diarrhea. WHO’s advice for travellers is presented below:

Avoid close contact with people who suffer from acute respiratory infections.
Avoid contact with live farm or wild animals. Although the virus hasn’t been identified so far in any animal species, scientists believe it to be of animal origin.
Wash your hands frequently, especially if you have contact with sick people, their relatives, or you have been to a medical facility.
Stick to all rules for food safety and hygiene.
If you develop some of the symptoms, see your doctor immediately and let them know of your trip. The WHO also says that people should be aware of the situation in the country and take measures not to get infected, but without any panic.

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