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The crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and on public transport put pilgrims at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, including meningitis.
Meningitis can affect anyone of any age or ethnic background. It is vital to know all the symptoms to look for, and how to get medical help. Carry a meningitis symptoms card or download our phone app.
There are different types of meningitis, but pilgrims going to Hajj or Umrah are most at risk of contracting meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria. Vaccination is the only way to prevent meningitis. All pilgrims need to be vaccinated against this type of meningitis and have a valid vaccination certificate (quadrivalent ACWY) from a doctor before a visa can be issued from the Saudi embassy.
Adults need to have the vaccine at least three weeks before travelling. Young children may need more than one dose of the vaccine, so more time needs to be allowed for this.
Remember that there are not vaccines to prevent all types of meningitis. It is vital to know all the symptoms.
What to do if you suspect meningitis:
Meningitis Now is the new name for Meningitis UK and the Meningitis Trust. Our goals remain the same – saving lives and rebuilding futures.
If you have any questions or concerns and English is not your first language, call our 24-hour nurse-staffed Helpline. Calls can be translated into over 170 languages.
Meningitis leaflets, posters and downloads: