DRCongo, Uganda Muslims banned from Mecca over Ebola epidemic

October 18, 2012

Saudi Arabia has banned Muslims from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda from making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca this year because of cholera and Ebola epidemics in the region, a Congolese religious leader said Thursday.

"The Muslims living in DR Congo and even those in Uganda won't participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca this year," the head of DR Congo's Islamic community, Cheik Abdallah Mangala, told AFP.

He said he thought the Saudi government had "made the decision to avoid any contamination from the and cholera viruses," which have taken a heavy toll on the region in recent months.

Pilgrims have already begun to arrive in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, the world's largest annual gathering, which peaks around October 25 this year with more than one million Muslims expected.

DR Congo has been battling an outbreak of cholera, a contagious , for over a year, and of Ebola, one of the world's most virulent diseases, since mid-August.

According to the , which has not imposed any travel restrictions on the country, more than 20,000 people in DR Congo were infected with cholera in 2012, with a mortality rate of two percent.

Leodegar Bazira, the WHO official in DR Congo, said the organisation had recorded 74 Ebola cases since August, 36 of them deadly, putting the mortality rate at 50 percent. But he added that the disease was now under control and confined to the northeastern town of Isiro.

In Uganda, Ebola has killed 17 people since July, but officials announced earlier this month that the disease had been brought under control and urged all countries to lift on Uganda.

To date, there is no treatment nor vaccine for Ebola, a rare haemorrhagic disease that kills between 25 percent and 90 percent of patients, depending on the strain of the virus. It is named after a small river in DR Congo.

Cholera, which is caused by ingestion of or water, can strike swiftly, causing intense diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea that lead to severe dehydration.

Explore further: Uganda Ebola outbreak over: government

Related Stories

Uganda Ebola outbreak over: government

October 4, 2012
Uganda on Thursday declared an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that killed 17 people dead to be over, officials said.

10 people die of suspected Ebola in Congo

August 22, 2012
(AP) — The World Health Organization says an outbreak of suspected Ebola in eastern Congo has infected at least 15 people, 10 of whom died.

Ebola caseload soars in eastern DR Congo

September 4, 2012
The number of people with Ebola, a rare haemorrhagic disease, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo has tripled since mid-August, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday, after 14 patients died in two weeks.

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

August 18, 2012
Nine people have died in an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Health Minister Felix Kabangue said on Saturday.

Uganda Ebola outbreak 'coming to an end': WHO

September 3, 2012
Uganda's latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus appears to be over, the World Health Organisation said Monday, pointing out that no new cases had been confirmed for the past month.

UN calls for $2mn to fight deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

September 5, 2012
The United Nations appealed Wednesday for $2 million (1.6 million euros) to fight an epidemic of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has killed 14 people.

Recommended for you

Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections

September 22, 2017
Group A Streptococcus bacteria cause a variety of illnesses that range from mild nuisances like strep throat to life-threatening conditions including pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome and the flesh-eating disease formally known ...

Residents: Frontline defenders against antibiotic resistance?

September 22, 2017
Antibiotic resistance continues to grow around the world, with sometimes disastrous results. Some strains of bacteria no longer respond to any currently available antibiotic, making death by infections that were once easily ...

Ecosystem approach makes urinary tract infection more treatable

September 22, 2017
The biological term 'ecosystem' is not usually associated with urinary tract infections, but this should change according to Wageningen scientists.

Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system

September 21, 2017
For years, medical investigators have tried and failed to develop vaccines for a type of staph bacteria associated with the deadly superbug MRSA. But a new study by Cedars-Sinai investigators shows how staph cells evade the ...

Superbug's spread to Vietnam threatens malaria control

September 21, 2017
A highly drug resistant malaria 'superbug' from western Cambodia is now present in southern Vietnam, leading to alarming failure rates for dihydroartemisinin (DHA)-piperaquine—Vietnam's national first-line malaria treatment, ...

Individualized diets for irritable bowel syndrome better than placebo

September 21, 2017
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome who follow individualized diets based on food sensitivity testing experience fewer symptoms, say Yale researchers. Their study is among the first to provide scientific evidence for this ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.