Yellow fever and Hajj: with all eyes on Zika, a familiar flavivirus remains a threat
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Hajj is among the world’s largest mass gatherings, drawing between 2 and 3.5 million Muslims from 183 nations annually to perform pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Infectious disease outbreaks can be imported both into the Hajj population and exported internationally by returning pilgrims. The domestic Saudi population can also be at risk of outbreaks traveling amid this mass migration. With yellow fever reported for the first time in China following the infection of expatriate Chinese workers in Angola and a full blown outbreak underway in wider West Africa, the prospect of yellow fever outbreaks in Asia threatens to impact Saudi Arabia, both during and beyond the Hajj season. With global focus trained on Zika, the rising threat of yellow fever cannot be overlooked. Strategies to mitigate risk to Saudi Arabia and the global population are thereby suggested.
Keywordsyellow fever mass gathering Saudi Arabia Hajj Zika virus
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