Medical Problems of Way of St. James Pilgrimage

  • Peter FelkaiEmail author
Original Paper


It appears that the El Camino pilgrimage route has become a long-distance trek and endurance test of the individual. The continuously increasing number of hikers demands more attention by travel medicine professionals. Analysis of the age groups of the pilgrims over recent years shows that the number of young pilgrims (< 30 years) is decreasing, but the number of middle-aged people (30–60 years) is slightly increasing, while the number of elderly people (> 60 years) is considerably increased. The leading cause of fatalities during the pilgrimage is ACS. The majority of the cardiac problems occur among the elderly people. The second most common cause of death is a traffic accident, and the third and fourth causes are a fatal exacerbation of the pilgrim’s pre-existing disease and illnesses caused by the extreme temperature (hot and cold environment alike). The aforementioned data suggest that pre-travel advice should be an indispensable part of the preparation for the El Camino peregrination, especially for the patient with chronic disease and elderly people.


St. James Way Pilgrimage El Camino Mortality of pilgrimage Pre-travel advice Travel medicine Morbidity of pilgrimage 



Author had not received any research grants, and this study was not funded or supported by anybody.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study did not involve any human participants, and the data retrieved were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Travel Medicine Chair, Internal Medicine FacultyDebrecen University, Medical SchoolBudapestHungary

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