Travel alert declared for Middle East over MERS
Travelers to the Middle East should be on the alert as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome ( MERS) has been escalating in that region, the Centers for Disease Control ( CDC) said Wednesday.
The disease is concentrated mainly in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, where around 100 MERS cases had been reported as of late July, the CDC said.
The risk of contracting MERS may increase due to a surge of visitors for the Hajj, a mass Islamic pilgrimage in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca that will take place Sept. 20 to 25, attracting over 3 million pilgrims from around the world, the CDC said.
People visiting Saudi Arabia and other MERS hotspots, namely the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iran, Oman and Qatar, should exercise caution, the agency said.
According to the World Health Organization, a total of 1,461 confirmed cases of MERS, including 514 deaths, were reported in 26 countries between September, 2012 and Aug. 24, 2015.
Travelers are advised not to visit farms and to avoid contact with camels and with people who show symptoms of respiratory illness, the CDC said.