Hajj and Umrah in 2017

Updated: August 04, 2017

What is the Hajj or Umrah?

The Hajj is the spiritual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest annual mass gathering in the world, with almost three million participants every year. The Hajj takes place from the 8th to the 12th days of the last month of the Islamic calendar every year.  This year, the Hajj will take place between August 30th and September 4th 2017.

Umrah is a similar pilgrimage that can be carried out at any time of the year.  It is often performed at the same time as the Hajj.

Why should you be concerned?

Large crowds in small areas can increase your risk of getting sick and/or being injured. Additionally, infectious diseases, including MERS-CoV and cholera, may pose a risk to pilgrims to the Hajj. There is currently an extensive outbreak of cholera in Yemen, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia. Take the time to prepare for your trip and know how to reduce the risks.

How can you protect your health during the Hajj or Umrah?

Before your trip:

All travellers should see a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before travel.  Find a travel health clinic near you.

During your trip:

Be aware of your surroundings.  Hajj is one of the largest mass gatherings in the world.

Protect yourself against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) by following the recommendations in the travel health notice on MERS-CoV.

Protect yourself against cholera or other food or waterborne infections by eating and drinking safely while attending the Hajj. 

Protect yourself and others from the spread of germs and flu-like illnesses.

Protect yourself against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) by following the recommendations in the travel health notice on MERS-CoV.

Eat and drink safely to avoid food poisoning during the Hajj.

Follow sun and heat safety tips. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are common during the Hajj and Umrah.

Drive with caution. The leading cause of death among international travellers is traffic accidents.

Monitor your health.

When you return to Canada:

See a health care provider if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea.

If you notice these symptoms during the flight, tell the flight attendant before you land, or the border services officer as you enter the country. They will notify a quarantine officer who can assess your symptoms.


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