Sunday, November 22, 2009

4 Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia Died - (2 Different Articles about Swine Flu Deaths in Saudi Arabia) 11/22/09 2:05

4 Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia Died - (2 Different Articles about Swine Flu Deaths in Saudi Arabia)

I have been reading over and over on sites about countries vaccinating people leaving to go on the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for Haj - an annual event.

First Article talks about the 4 pilgrims who have died from the Swine Flu in Saudi Arabia, the second is about 9 Sudanese who have died there - they say only 1 was from the Swine Flu.

First Article:

No cause for panic ahead of Haj

Riyadh: Muslim pilgrims went about their business yesterday with little panic after four Haj pilgrims died last night of the H1N1 flu virus days before the annual pilgrimage begins in Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia said all four pilgrims who died were foreigners, Reuters reported.

Three of the victims — a woman from Morocco and men from Sudan and India — were in their seventies, BBC Online reported quoting Saudi health officials. The fourth was a 17-year-old girl from Nigeria, it said.

The Health Ministry also said that none of the four foreign victims had been vaccinated against the H1N1 virus.

An official statement released by the ministry said all had underlying health problems, including cancer and respiratory illness, AFP news agency reported. Three of the victims died in Madinah and one in Makkah, according to the BBC.

An estimated three million Muslims perform Haj every year, including up to two million who travel from abroad. Haj rituals this year will start on Wednesday, November 25.

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has advised all Saudi residents intending to perform Haj to receive the H1N1 vaccine by yesterday.

Vaccine availability

According to the Saudi Gazette, the Ministry of Haj, in a statement addressing Saudi nationals and foreign residents, said the vaccine was available at all ministry facilities. The statement was preceded by another announcement that the effects of the second wave of swine flu had begun to be noticed from the beginning of October, with a 50 per cent increase in the numbers of registered cases in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has recommended that those over 65 or under 12, those who are sickly and women who are pregnant should not perform Haj this year because of concerns about catching and spreading the flu.

GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis are among some 25 companies producing pandemic vaccine and other drugmakers including Switzerland's Roche Holding are making antivirals for use as a frontline H1N1 drug.

According to the World Health Organisation's latest death toll, which is thought to underestimate the total spread of the virus, at least 6,750 people worldwide have died as a result of an H1N1 infection since its discovery earlier this year in Mexico and the United States.

Second Article:

KHARTOUM, Nov 22 (KUNA) -- Sudan Pilgrimage Mission announced on Sunday that it had registered nine deaths of Sudanese pilgrims who were in holy lands to perform Hajj.
The statement said that six fatalaties passed away due to natural causes, where two others died in an accident, while the ninth case died out of suspision of being infected with swine flu. The families of the deceased were informed.
The statement added that no confirmed swine flu cases have been reported by the health center escorting the pilgrims, other than the suspected deceased case. (end) hhi.mao KUNA 222131 Nov 09NNNN

Nine Sudanese pilgrims die in holy land in Saudi Arabia

Another Story:

Saudis fear Haj swine flu epidemic


MECCA: A security official wearing a protective mask keeps an eye on cars at a checkpoint between Jeddah and Mecca before the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Saudi authorities announced four pilgrims have died of the H1N1 swine flu virus in the days leading up to the pilgrimage due to begin on Wednesday. A Moroccan woman, a Sudanese man and an Indian man, all 75, and a 17-year-old Nigerian girl, had died from H1N1, the Saudi Health Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. It said the four had not followed ''recommended procedures, especially vaccination against swine flu''.

A Health Ministry spokesman, Dr Khaled Marghlani, said the victims were all suffering from health problems already, including cancer and respiratory illness. Dr Marghlani said 16 other cases of swine flu infection among pilgrims had been detected, and that ''four are in hospital in critical condition''.

Health authorities in the kingdom have mobilised for the world's largest gathering since swine flu began spreading across the globe.

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