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Viral respiratory infections among Hajj pilgrims in 2013


Barasheed, O and Rashid, H and Alfelali, M and Tashani, M and Azeem, M and Bokhary, H and Kalantan, N and Samkari, J and Heron, L and Kok, J and Taylor, J and El Bashir, H and Al Memish, Z and Haworth, E and Holmes, EC and Dwyer, DE and Asghar, A and Booy, R, on behalf of the Hajj Research Team, Viral respiratory infections among Hajj pilgrims in 2013, Virologica Sinica, 29, (6) pp. 364-371. ISSN 1674-0769 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 Springer

DOI: doi:10.1007/s12250-014-3507-x


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has emerged in the Arabian Gulf region, with its epicentre in Saudi Arabia, the host of the ‘Hajj’ which is the world's the largest mass gathering. Transmission of MERS-CoV at such an event could lead to its rapid worldwide dissemination. Therefore, we studied the frequency of viruses causing influenza-like illnesses (ILI) among participants in a randomised controlled trial at the Hajj 2013. We recruited 1038 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia, Australia and Qatar during the first day of Hajj and followed them closely for four days. A nasal swab was collected from each pilgrim who developed ILI. Respiratory viruses were detected using multiplex RT-PCR. ILI occurred in 112/1038 (11%) pilgrims. Their mean age was 35 years, 49 (44%) were male and 35 (31%) had received the influenza vaccine pre-Hajj. Forty two (38%) pilgrims had laboratory-confirmed viral infections; 28 (25%) rhinovirus, 5 (4%) influenza A, 2 (2%) adenovirus, 2 (2%) human coronavirus OC43/229E, 2 (2%) parainfluenza virus 3, 1 (1%) parainfluenza virus 1, and 2 (2%) dual infections. No MERS-CoV was detected in any sample. Rhinovirus was the commonest cause of ILI among Hajj pilgrims in 2013. Infection control and appropriate vaccination are necessary to prevent transmission of respiratory viruses at Hajj and other mass gatherings.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Hajj, influenza-like illness, mass gathering, MERS-CoV, pilgrim, respiratory infections
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Infectious diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Haworth, E (Dr Elizabeth Haworth)
ID Code:97997
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2015-01-27
Last Modified:2017-11-03

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