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Middle East

Middle East
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How do I look after myself in the Middle East?

The oil-rich Middle East draws commercial travellers, and also pilgrims, who journey to the holy city of Mecca for Hajj and Umrah.

What vaccinations do Umrah and Hajj pilgrims require?

Umrah and Hajj travel vaccines will protect you from a number of common, preventable illnesses and save you a lot of inconvenience.

Hajj pilgrims need a certificate proving that they have had a meningococcal meningitis shot, and this vaccine and certificate can be obtained from Canadian Travel Clinics.

Ask about our Umrah Travel Vaccinations Package, and a Hajj Travel Vaccinations Package and take advantage of our competitive pricing. Make an appointment with one of our nurses today to determine your individual requirements for your pilgrimage this year.

How can I avoid food- and water-borne illnesses in the Middle East?

You can expect excellent standards of hygiene in high-end accommodation; but if you are going down market, you should take precautions. Vaccines are available for typhoid and hepatitis A. Take care with what you eat: hot, freshly cooked food is safer than food that has been kept warm. You should remember the old saying ‘boil it, peel it or forget it’. For more food safety tips, see our article on food-borne diseases.

Take local advice about the quality of the tap water, or stick to bottled or treated water; and see our article, water-borne diseases.

Should I be concerned about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)?

MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory infection with a high mortality rate. It is caused by the coronavirus and is thought to be contracted from infected camels. You should take diligent hygiene measures such as thorough handwashing if you visit a farm, barn or market or touch a camel. Avoid contact with sick animals. Do not drink raw camel milk or urine; and do not eat camel meat that has not been properly cooked. Check your destinations with the Government of Canada’s travel advisory service to find out whether MERS-CoV is a concern.

Legionnaire’s disease in the Middle East

Cases of legionnaire’s disease have been seen among travellers returning from Dubai. This infection is of particular concern to travellers with an underlying health condition. Anyone who finds themselves with flu-like symptoms during their stay in the Middle East or within a fortnight of their return should get medical advice.

How do I adjust to a desert climate?

Our article about desert travel has some ideas to help you cope with extreme heat.

Can I catch malaria in the Middle East?

Malaria does occur in parts of the Middle East. This dangerous fever is contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. If you are going to a malarious area, you should take malaria prophylaxis, available from our clinics. Your travel health nurse can also advise on mosquito-avoidance as there are some other unpleasant illnesses contracted from insect and mosquito bites.

Do I need a yellow fever certificate in the Middle East?

Depending on your itinerary, you may need a yellow fever certificate to enter some countries in the Middle East. Your travel health nurse can help you work out if this applies to you.