Tower Hamlets health warning to Hajj pilgrims about touching camels

Camel warning

Camel warning - Credit: Archant

Health officials in London’s East End don’t want pilgrims going on this year’s Hajj to get the hump.

So town hall officers are calling at mosques warning about unnecessary contact with camels which could lead to a debilitating infection.

Tower Hamlets council’s Health and Safety team is touring the area in time for Friday Prayers tomorrow and next week to giving advice to Muslims on what to avoid on pilgrimage.

An infection called Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus has caused illness among those visiting certain Middle East countries since 2012, they warn. It is a viral disease which can be passed from person to person.

It is still unclear where the virus came from, but there is growing medical evidence of the possible role of camels in transmitting it to humans, which is why the precaution is being issued.

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Symptoms include fever and cough that progress to a severe pneumonia, causing breathing problems, which can be fatal in the most severe cases.

Hajj pilgrims are advised to avoid sick animals, camel products such as raw milk, raw milk products and any food that could be contaminated with animal secretions—unless peeled, cleaned or thoroughly cooked.

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Council health officials are giving tips when travelling for Hajj on how to prevent diarrhoea and other food and water-borne diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis.

Trading standards are also joining them to warn pilgrims about rip-off operators selling dodgy tour packages.

They are calling at Spitalfields tomorrow at the Brick Lane Jamia Mosque and next Friday, September 11, at Shadwell’s Darul Ummah Jamme Mosque in Bigland Street, both from 12noon to 2pm.

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