Health of returning Hajj pilgrims for 2018

The Ministry of Health routinely engages Hajj pilgrims prior to their journey and monitors their health upon returning from Hajj. Through this process, for the 2018 Hajj, the Ministry of Health has identified 4 returning pilgrims with fever, cough and other signs and symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

Because many causes of respiratory tract infections have similar symptoms, and considering the association of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, (MERS CoV), with a history of travel to the Arabian Peninsula, the Ministry applied standard protocols in the management of these 4 persons.  This involved testing and admitting these persons to the Caura Chest Hospital pending the results from the test. All 4 persons have been clinically stable throughout this process. The test results have indicated that these pilgrims are not infected with MERS CoV.

It is important to note that evidence from the World Health Organisation has indicated no human cases of MERS-CoV have been associated with Hajj thus far.

The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to remind the public of core measures that have been proven to protect against respiratory infections such as the flu:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue then wash your hands.
  3. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the upper part of the shirt, blouse or t-shirt you are wearing.  
  4. If you do not have soap and water, use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol.

The Ministry of Health remains committed to protecting the health of the population of Trinidad and Tobago.

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