22 Nov 2009

Swine flu kills four on pilgrimage to Mecca

1:51 pm on 22 November 2009

Four people taking part in the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca have died of swine flu, according to authorities in Saudi Arabia.

Three of the victims - a woman from Morocco and men from Sudan and India - were aged their 70s. The fourth was a 17-year-old girl from Nigeria.

The Health Ministry says none had been vaccinated against the H1N1 virus and all had underlying health problems.

The BBC reports these are the first confirmed deaths from swine flu during this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

Up to three million Muslims from around the world take part in the holy pilgrimage every year, but health officials have expressed fears that it could provide a breeding ground for the virus.

The latest figures from the World Health Organisation show the virus has so far killed 6,750 people worldwide.