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Virologica Sinica

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 364–371 | Cite as

Viral respiratory infections among Hajj pilgrims in 2013

  • Osamah Barasheed
  • Harunor Rashid
  • Mohammad Alfelali
  • Mohamed Tashani
  • Mohammad Azeem
  • Hamid Bokhary
  • Nadeen Kalantan
  • Jamil Samkari
  • Leon Heron
  • Jen Kok
  • Janette Taylor
  • Haitham El Bashir
  • Ziad A. Memish
  • Elizabeth Haworth
  • Edward C. Holmes
  • Dominic E. Dwyer
  • Atif Asghar
  • Robert Booy
  • Hajj Research Team
Research Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Hajj influenza-like illness mass gathering MERS-CoV pilgrim respiratory infections 

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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Osamah Barasheed
    • 1
  • Harunor Rashid
    • 1
  • Mohammad Alfelali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mohamed Tashani
    • 1
  • Mohammad Azeem
    • 1
  • Hamid Bokhary
    • 3
  • Nadeen Kalantan
    • 4
  • Jamil Samkari
    • 2
  • Leon Heron
    • 1
  • Jen Kok
    • 5
  • Janette Taylor
    • 5
  • Haitham El Bashir
    • 6
  • Ziad A. Memish
    • 7
  • Elizabeth Haworth
    • 8
  • Edward C. Holmes
    • 9
    • 10
  • Dominic E. Dwyer
    • 5
    • 9
  • Atif Asghar
    • 3
  • Robert Booy
    • 1
    • 9
    • 10
  • Hajj Research Team
  1. 1.National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)The Children’s Hospital at WestmeadSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of MedicineKing Abdulaziz UniversityRabighSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah ResearchUmm Al-Qura UniversityMakkahSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.King Abdulaziz Medical CityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  5. 5.Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Laboratory ServicesWestmead HospitalSydneyAustralia
  6. 6.Hamad Medical CorporationDohaQatar
  7. 7.Ministry of HealthRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  8. 8.Menzies Research Institute TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  9. 9.Sydney Medical SchoolThe University of Sydney cSydneyAustralia
  10. 10.Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and BiosecurityThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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