The uncomfortable truth: Haj pilgrims to Mecca and the spread of illnesses

Two major health scares at US airports involving inbound flights are related to pilgrims returning from the Haj - the Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia which ended in late August - US health officials said on Friday.Indeed: gathering huge crowds of people from all over the world and placing them in close proximity: sharing toilets, food and water under inherently stressful conditions is an ideal breeding ground for the spread of disease. Simply raising this topic is almost certain to be denounced as "Islamophobia," but disease vectors don't care about theology.