Health experts are warning that a deadly virus found mainly in Saudi Arabia may spread, as Islamic pilgrims return home from the Hajj.
Since first being identified a year ago, there have been more than 130 cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS identified.
The high mortality rate of the virus had Saudi authorities concerned about the Hajj pilgrimage, which ended late last week, although experts say the danger period isn't over.
Presenter: Bill Birtles
Speaker: Professor Charles Watson, Curtin University; Gregory Hartl, World Health Organisation spokesman
BIRTLES: The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome bears similarities to the SARS virus, which claimed hundreds of lives in China a decade ago.
But since first being identified in late 2012, its spread has mainly been contained to Saudi Arabia.
Which is why millions of pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj had authorities extremely worried.
Gregory Hartl is a spokesman for the World Health Organisation - he says Saudi Arabian authorities were well prepared.
HARTL: 'In addition this year, there were extra staff, extra ambulances, extra checks, plus a lot of information was handed out to the pilgrims about what they might need to do if they felt feverish or had problems breathing, so it was an extensive effort on the part of the Saudis.'
BIRTLES: He says although the virus hasn't shown signs of human to human transmission, health authorities still need to be on alert.
HARTL: 'It could well be that a returning pilgrim gets back, starts feeling sick and is found to be diagnosed with MERS, and what we consequently are asking countries to do is to increase their surveillance and to know what symptoms to look for on the one hand, and for pilgrims to be on alert and to tell their doctors they were on Hajj if they start to feel sick'.