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NEWS: Saudis Try to Cut Polio Spread During Hajj

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posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 09:51 AM
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The government of Saudi Arabia is adopting strict measures to prevent the spread of polio during this years hajj. Children 15 years or younger will be immunized "on the spot" who come to Mecca from 19 countries where the virus is still active.

 



news. yahoo.com
CAIRO, Egypt - As millions of Muslims prepare to make the annual hajj to Mecca this January, Saudi Arabia is adopting stricter measures to stop a new and startling spread of polio across the region, Saudi and U.N. officials said Saturday.

The country that hosts the annual Islamic pilgrimage will now immunize — on the spot — all children aged 15 or under who travel to Mecca from 19 countries where the virus is found, mostly from Africa.

A top Saudi health official said Ethiopia, Eritrea and Angola were added this month to the list of "at risk" countries as the government cranked up preparations for the influx of more than 2 million pilgrims through air, sea and land ports across the country.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I was interested in this story not from a religious / political standpoint, but more of a disease / epidemiology standpoint. You have alot of people converging on one location from multiple countries. This is a proactive measure designed to prevent an outbreak of a preventable disease. It is a common misconception that polio has been eliminated world wide, but that is simply not the case.




posted on Aug, 23 2005 @ 03:57 PM
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Wow, thats really interesting. The Haj is something that all muslims are very strongly encouraged to do. They're not required to do it under the age of 15 of course, but this makes for an interesting moment. I can't imagine at what would happen if, for example, the US governement required christian revival meetings to be vaccinated for the flu, or something of the sort. Or imagine if communion wafers had large doses of vitamins in them and the like.

Regardless, this means that the Haj will be responsible for improving global health and the health of those particular countries, which is another interesting aspect.



posted on Aug, 23 2005 @ 07:22 PM
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I think its the fact that its sort of like the Olympics in terms of countries from which people come (not as many though). Alot of them come from the third world where immunizations are an iffy proposition.

For all of the vilification of Bill Gates, his foundation does alot of vaccination programs targeted in these kinds of countries.

The Haj is something I would like to see once in my life. I am not a Muslim, but its one of those historical / signifigant events that would be an impressive thing to witness.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 01:21 AM
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Originally posted by FredT
The Haj is something I would like to see once in my life. I am not a Muslim, but its one of those historical / signifigant events that would be an impressive thing to witness.


Not possible -- Mecca is off limits to all non-Muslims, and this is strictly enforced by Saudi Arabia (except when they need to smuggle in a westerner to fix a bus or something
)



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