Protection of pligrims proves a success

SWINE FLU vaccination was a mandatory requirement for Egyptians taking part in the 2009 Hajj, and a study suggests this was effective at reducing transmission of the pandemic virus.

About 550 Muslims answered a survey, and had mouth swabs taken, at Cairo airport on their return from the religious pilgrimage.  

Almost all (98%) reported vaccination prior to leaving and six (1%) pilgrims had an influenza infection on their return. All were cases of A(H3N2) and the pandemic strain A(H1N1) was not detected.

“These results may prompt other countries to consider similar influenza vaccination policy before the Hajj, and other mass gatherings, where amplification of influenza virus transmission is a major threat,” the authors said.

Emerg Infect Dis 2011; 17:1266-68