The crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and on public transport put pilgrims at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, including meningitis.
Signs and symptoms
There aren’t vaccines for all types of meningitis, so remaining vigilant is vital. In the early stages, meningitis symptoms can disguise themselves as a common cold or flu.
- Download our FREE symptoms app on your smartphone (iPhone and Android)
- Request our FREE credit-card sized signs and symptoms card to keep in your purse or wallet – call our Meningitis Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 to get yours
- There are different types and causes of meningitis, but pilgrims going to Hajj or Umrah are at increased risk from the meningococcal bacteria. Vaccination is the only way to prevent meningitis.
- All pilgrims need to receive the Men ACWY vaccine and have a valid vaccination certificate from a doctor before a visa can be issued from the Saudi Embassy. The vaccine certificate must have been issued at least 10 days before arrival and clearly state which vaccine has been given.
- The Men ACWY vaccine, offered in the UK, is a longer lasting conjugate vaccine (Menveo® or Nimenrix®). This vaccine is valid for five years.
- The older polysaccharide Men ACWY vaccine (ACWY Vax®) is no longer used in the UK, but may still be offered in other countries. This vaccine is only valid for three years.
- Allow plenty of time for vaccination before you travel, adults need to have the vaccine at least three weeks before, young children may need more than one dose.
- Make sure you carry the emergency contact information provided by your travel specialist.
- For further information go to the Council for British Hajjis
Concerned about meningitis?
If you are on Hajj or Umrah and suspect meningitis, make sure you get immediate medical attention.
- Describe the symptoms and say you think it might be meningitis or septicaemia
- Trust your instincts. You know your loved ones, and your own body, best
- Early diagnosis can be difficult. If you have had medical advice and are still worried, get medical help again
- Carry one of our free signs and symptoms cards with you- Call 0808 80 10 388 or download our signs and symptoms app
If you are in the UK, you can contact your GP or in an emergency, go to the nearest accident and emergency department or dial 999.