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Hajj Advice

The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Saudi Arabia (http://www.moh.gov.sa/en/hajj/pages/healthregulations.aspx) has issued the following requirements and recommendations to obtain entry visas for 2017/1438H-Hajj and Umrah seasons:

1.    Yellow fever

(A) In accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005, all travelers arriving from countries or areas at risk of yellow fever transmission (see list below) must present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. The life-long certificate of yellow fever vaccination is valid for the life of the vaccinated person, starting from 10 days after the vaccination date.
In the absence of such a certificate, the individual will be placed under strict surveillance until the certificate become valid or until a period of not more than 6 days from the last date of potential exposure to infection have lapsed, whichever is earlier. Health offices at entry points will be responsible for notifying the appropriate Director General of Health Affairs in the region or governorate about the temporary place of residence of the visitor.

The following countries/areas are at risk of yellow fever transmission (as defined by the International travel and health 2016):
Africa:
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, The Republic of South Soudan, Togo and Uganda.
Americas:
Argentina, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Pluractional State of Bolivia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

(B) Aircrafts, ships and other means of transportation coming from countries affected by yellow fever are requested to submit a certificate indicating that it applied disinsection in accordance with methods recommended by WHO.

In accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005, all arriving ships will be requested to provide to the competent authority a valid Ship Sanitation Certificate. Ships arriving from areas at risk for yellow fever transmission may also be required to submit to inspection to ensure they are free of yellow fever vectors, or disinfected, as a condition of granting free pratique (including permission to enter a port, to embark or disembark and to discharge or load cargo or stores).

2.    Meningococcal meningitis

(A) Visitors from all countries
Visitors arriving for the purpose of Umrah or pilgrimage (Hajj) or for seasonal work are required to submit a certificate of vaccination with the tetravalent (ACYW135) vaccine against meningitis, proving the vaccine was administered no less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia. Both polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines are valid options*; the first one confers a protection of at least three years and the latter at least five years. The vaccine should have been administered not more than 3 and 5 years respectively, prior to entry into the country. The responsible authorities in the visitor’s country of origin should ensure that adults and children aged over 2 years are given at least 1 dose of the tetravalent ACYW135 vaccine and state clearly the name of the vaccine used on the vaccination card.

Please note that the conjugate meningococcal vaccine certificate is valid for 5 years. However, the certificate must state clearly that the Hajji actually received the conjugate meningococcal vaccine. If the vaccine type it not indicated in the certificate, then it will be assumed that it is not the conjugate vaccine and it the validity of the certificate will to be for 3 years.

(B) For visitors arriving from countries in the African meningitis belt: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and South Sudan. The above stated requirements apply. In addition, chemoprophylaxis will be administered at port of entry to lower the rate of carriers.

(C) Interior pilgrims and the Hajj workers:
Vaccination with tetravalent (ACYW135) vaccine is required for:

All citizens and residents of Medina and Mecca who have not been vaccinated during the past 3 years with a polysaccharide vaccine or 5 years with a conjugate vaccine;
All citizens and residents undertaking the Hajj who have not been vaccinated during the past 3 years with a polysaccharide vaccine or 5 years with a conjugate vaccine;
All Hajj workers, including individuals working at entry points or in direct contact with pilgrims, who have not been vaccinated in the past 3 years with a polysaccharide vaccine or 5 years with a conjugate vaccine.

3.    Poliomyelitis

Regardless of age and vaccination status, proof of receipt of a dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV), or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), within the previous 12 months and at least 4 weeks prior to departure, is required to apply for an entry visa for Saudi Arabia for travellers arriving from the following countries, territories or areas:
States infected with Wild Polio Virus 1 or circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus with potential risk of international spread: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan;
States no longer infected but remain vulnerable to reinfection: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Myanmar, Niger, and Ukraine;
States which remain vulnerable to Polio: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen.

All travellers from these countries will also receive 1 dose of OPV at border points on arrival in Saudi Arabia.

4.    Seasonal influenza

The Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia recommends that international pilgrims be vaccinated against seasonal influenza with most recently available vaccines (i.e. those for Southern Hemisphere 2016) prior to arrival, particularly those at increased risk of severe influenza diseases including pregnant women, children aged over 5 years, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, chronic heart or lung diseases and HIV/AIDS infection.
In Saudi Arabia, seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for internal pilgrims, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions as described above, as well as for all health-care workers in the Hajj premises.

5.    Zika virus disease and Dengue

The Aedes aegypti mosquito has not been detected in the Hajj and Umrah areas for many years; however this mosquito is present in surrounding cities. The Ministry of Heath recommends travellers for Hajj and Umrah to take insect bite avoidance measures during daytime and night time hours to reduce the risk of infection. For travellers arriving from areas with Zika virus transmission, it is recommended to follow WHO advice.
Aircrafts, ships and other means of transportation coming from countries affected by Zika virus are requested to submit a certificate indicating that it applied disinsection in accordance with methods recommended by WHO.
Countries and Territories with Active Zika Virus Transmission can be found on the following link: (http://goo.gl/tucRQX)

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