1996 News Story

Ban on pilgrims because of meningitis

An official source stated today that in view of recent information made available by the World Health Organization (WHO) that a meningitis epidemic has been spreading in a number of African countries since the beginning of 1996, and in line with the Saudi government’s concern for the protection of pilgrims, it has been decided not to allow pilgrims coming from Nigeria, Niger, Mali or Burkina Faso to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.   WHO reports large numbers of deaths from meningitis this year, with the highest numbers in Nigeria (41,401 cases with 6,581 deaths) and Burkina Faso (20,235 cases, with 2,018 deaths). This decision covers both citizens and residents of these countries.  Citizens who live abroad will, however, be allowed to enter the Kingdom to perform Hajj.