MUSLIMS with underlying health problems are being advised against making the pilgrimage to Mecca because of swine flu.
Kirklees health chiefs are warning those with chronic diseases, mums-to-be, children and the elderly to steer clear of the Saudi Arabian gathering due to health risks.
Dr Judith Hooper, director of public health for NHS Kirklees, said: “There is a high chance of transmission of swine flu due to the large number of people attending and we are anxious that the most vulnerable members of our community are not put at risk.
“Swine flu is more infectious than seasonal flu and so such large crowds, gathering in close proximity, poses a higher risk.”
The Department of Health issued the guidance following recommendations from the Saudi Arabian Embassy stating Muslims in at-risk groups should defer performing Hajj or Umrah this year for their own safety.
New advice also no longer requires pilgrims to obtain proof that they have had the seasonal flu jab this year.
People with swine flu, or anyone showing flu-like symptoms, are being urged not to travel until the symptoms subside to prevent the virus spreading.