The annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is among the largest mass gatherings in the world. In 2017, Hajj will take place from approximately August 30 to September 4. Umrah is a similar pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time of the year, but is likely to be more crowded during the month of Ramadan (approximately May 27 to June 24).
Because of the crowds, mass gatherings such as Hajj and Umrah are associated with unique health risks. Before you go, you should visit a travel health specialist for advice, make sure you are up to date on all routine and recommended vaccines, and learn about other health and safety issues that could affect you during your trip.
In advance of this event, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed the attached brief notice regarding Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) testing. Because of the potential increase in travelers returning from Hajj that may be ill, consider MERS-CoV testing if the person meets CDC’s patient under investigation (PUI) testing guidelines. CDC also recently updated reporting guidelines for a MERS PUI (EPI-X, July 25, 2017).