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PHE urge travellers to Saudi Arabia to be aware of health risks

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PHE and the National Travel Health Network and Centre have urged pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia as part of Hajj and Umrah to familiarise themselves with health and travel advice.

The recommendations are a result of an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has resulted in 298 deaths from 846 reported cases as of September 2014. Nurses should be aware of the flu-like symptoms of MERS, which include a fever and a cough. PHE have said that if a patient presents with these symptoms within two weeks of returning from the Middle East, they should immediately seek treatment, as the condition is potentially contagious and life threatening. It is important to make anyone planning to travel to the Middle East aware of this.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health has recommended that elderly people, those with chronic diseases, immunodeficient patients, pregnant women, and children do not visit the country.

Professor Nick Phin, head of respiratory diseases at PHE said: 'With growing evidence indicating the role of camels in transmitting MERS-CoV to humans, we're advising all travellers to the Middle East, particularly those with underlying or chronic medical conditions, to avoid contact with camels and camel products, and to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene to reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses.'

View the full list of recommendations

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