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Jakarta Post

Island focus: Haj pilgrims told not to touch camels

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 9 2018   /  03:06 am

Ahead of the upcoming haj period next year, the Health Ministry has warned haj pilgrims on Wednesday to avoid contact with camels to prevent potentially contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus that can infect humans through animals, particularly infected dromedary camels.It had come to the ministry’s attention that haj pilgrims often took pictures with camels during sightseeing trips.“Because there is no vaccine for MERS-CoV, [pilgrims] should try to avoid the disease by limiting their contact with camels,” head of the ministry’s haj pilgrim health center, Eka Jusuf Singka, told a press conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Wednesday.Many travel agencies also offer pilgrims a chance to ride camels during umrah (minor haj) or haj tours, Eka said. However, some have already excluded the experience from their travel packages and re...