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Memish Z.A.,Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine | Memish Z.A.,Collaborating Center for Mass Gatherings Medicine | Memish Z.A.,Al Faisal University | Zumla A.,Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine | And 18 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2014

Religious festivals attract a large number of pilgrims from worldwide and are a potential risk for the transmission of infectious diseases between pilgrims, and to the indigenous population. The gathering of a large number of pilgrims could compromise the health system of the host country. The threat to global health security posed by infectious diseases with epidemic potential shows the importance of advanced planning of public health surveillance and response at these religious events. Saudi Arabia has extensive experience of providing health care at mass gatherings acquired through decades of managing millions of pilgrims at the Hajj. In this report, we describe the extensive public health planning, surveillance systems used to monitor public health risks, and health services provided and accessed during Hajj 2012 and Hajj 2013 that together attracted more than 5 million pilgrims from 184 countries. We also describe the recent establishment of the Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine, a Saudi Government partnership with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicine, Gulf Co-operation Council states, UK universities, and public health institutions globally. Source


Memish Z.A.,Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine | Memish Z.A.,Al Faisal University | Assiri A.,Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine | Almasri M.,Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine | And 9 more authors.
Clinical Microbiology and Infection | Year: 2015

Over two million Muslim pilgrims assemble annually in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia, to complete the Hajj. The large number of people in a crowded environment increases the potential for pneumococcal carriage amplification. We evaluated pneumococcal carriage prevalence with four cross-sectional studies conducted at beginning-Hajj (Mecca) and end-Hajj (Mina) during 2011 and 2012. A questionnaire was administered and a nasopharyngeal swab was collected. The swab was tested for pneumococcus, serotype and antibiotic resistance. A total of 3203 subjects (1590 at beginning-Hajj and 1613 at end-Hajj) originating from 18 countries in Africa or Asia were enrolled. The overall pneumococcal carriage prevalence was 6.0%. There was an increase in carriage between beginning-Hajj and end-Hajj cohorts for: overall carriage (4.4% versus 7.5%, prevalence ratio (PR) 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.3), and carriage of 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine serotypes (2.3% versus 4.1%, PR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.7), 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) serotypes (1.1% versus 3.6%, PR 3.2, 95% CI 1.9-5.6), 10-valent PCV serotypes (0.6% versus 1.6%, PR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.3), antibiotic non-susceptible isolates (2.5% versus 6.1%, PR 2.5, 95% CI 1.7-3.6) and multiple non-susceptible isolates (0.6% versus 2.2%, PR 3.8, 95% CI 1.8-7.9). Fifty-two different serotypes were identified, most commonly serotypes 3 (17%), 19F (5%) and 34 (5%). These results suggest that the Hajj may increase pneumococcal carriage-particularly conjugate vaccine serotypes and antibiotic non-susceptible strains, although the exact mechanism remains unknown. The Hajj may therefore provide a mechanism for the global distribution of pneumococci. © 2014 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Source


McCloskey B.,Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine | McCloskey B.,Public Health England | Endericks T.,Public Health England | Catchpole M.,Center for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control | And 22 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2014

Mass gatherings are regarded as potential risks for transmission of infectious diseases, and might compromise the health system of countries in which they are hosted. The evidence for increased transmission of infectious diseases at international sporting mass gatherings that attract many visitors from all over the world is not clear, and the evidence base for public health surveillance, epidemiology, and response at events such as the Olympics is small. However, infectious diseases are a recognised risk, and public health planning is, and should remain, a crucial part of the overall planning of sporting events. In this Series paper, we set out the planning and the surveillance systems that were used to monitor public health risks during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2012, and draw attention to the public health issues-infectious diseases and chemical, radiation, and environmental hazards-that arose. Although the absolute risk of health-protection problems, including infectious diseases, at sporting mass gatherings is small, the need for reassurance of the absence of problems is higher than has previously been considered; this could challenge conventional public health surveillance systems. Recognition of the limitations of health-surveillance systems needs to be part of the planning for future sporting events. Source

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