Saturday, December 5, 2009
The Hajj:"A perfect storm for swine flu"
Forget stampedes, fires and terrorist attacks. The big fear this year concerning the Hajj, the annual millions-strong pilgrimage to Mecca, is swine flu.
Swine flu has already killed four pilgrims this year, Saudi Arabia's health ministry announced Saturday, almost a week before the pilgrimage's peak.
Three of the victims -- a woman from Morocco and men from Sudan and India -- were in their seventies. The fourth was a 17-year-old girl from Nigeria.
The Health Ministry said none had been vaccinated against the H1N1 virus -- despite their recommendations -- and all had underlying health problems, including cancer and respiratory illness. A ministry spokesman said more than two dozen other cases had been detected among arriving pilgrims...