Viral respiratory infections associated with the Hajj pilgrimage

Added July 7, 2020

Citation: Gautret P, Benkouiten S, Al-Tawfiq JA, et al. Hajj-associated viral respiratory infections: a systematic review. Travel medicine and infectious disease. 2016 Mar 1;14(2):92-109.

What is this? Mass gatherings and travel may increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Existing research on such events, including the Hajj, might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for studies on the association between the Hajj and viral respiratory infections. They restricted their searches to studies published in English since January 1980 and did the search in May 2015. They included 32 studies.

What was found: The viruses most commonly isolated from symptomatic patients during the Hajj were rhinovirus (5.9% to 48.8% prevalence), influenza virus (4.5% to 13.9%) and non-MERS coronaviruses (2.7% to 13.2%).

Infection rates for viral respiratory infections increased significantly in pilgrims after their Hajj pilgrimage, compared to arriving pilgrims,

In the studies included in this review, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) were never isolated in Hajj pilgrims.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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