MERS safety: Pilgrims must wear masks



RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN

Published — Thursday 3 October 2013

Last update 8 November 2013 4:28 am

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The Ministry of Health advised Haj pilgrims on Wednesday to wear face masks in the holy cities to protect themselves from the deadly MERS virus.
Dr. Nazreen Sherbini, a specialist in infectious diseases and influenza, said MERS is transmitted through droplets from coughing and sneezing.
“Pilgrims should wear protective masks that cover the noses and mouths in crowded places and follow basic health etiquette while sneezing or coughing,” Sherbini said.
She advised pilgrims to avoid people who cough and sneeze incessantly, have runny noses, and temperature over 38 degrees Celsius.
To prevent MERS spreading in the holy cities, she said the ministry has asked the elderly with chronic diseases to postpone their Haj.
She said only laboratory tests could confirm whether a person has the virus. She said pilgrims with seasonal flu would not require antibiotics. However, these pilgrims would have to increase their fluid intake, except those who suffer from renal, respiratory and cardiac pulmonary diseases.

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