Health Issues of Mass Gatherings in the Middle East

  • Amani Salem Alqahtani
  • Amal Mohammed Alshahrani
  • Harunor RashidEmail author
Living reference work entry


The Middle East is host to some of the world’s most crowded mass gatherings (MGs) including Hajj and Arbaeen pilgrimages. These MGs can strain the health system of the host countries and at the same time can pose significant threat to global health security through the spread of infectious agents with epidemic potential. Large intercontinental outbreaks of meningococcal disease in recent past are a testament to this fact. A range of viral and bacterial infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract can occur during Hajj and Arbaeen, and the risk of diarrhea, a common travel morbidity, increases significantly at Arbaeen and to a smaller extent at Hajj. Stampedes with high fatalities have occurred in those gatherings. The risk of health hazards can be minimized by following host country’s guidance that include stringent compliance with vaccination recommendations, food and water safety practices, adhering hygienic principles, maintaining hydration, risk awareness and avoidance of high-risk behaviors such as walking against the traffic in a crowded place or drinking raw camel milk.


Arbaeen Ashura GITEX Hajj Makkah Mass gathering Middle East 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amani Salem Alqahtani
    • 1
  • Amal Mohammed Alshahrani
    • 2
  • Harunor Rashid
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Saudi Food and Drug AuthorityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Armed Forced Hospitals Southern RegionKhamis MushaytSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), The Children’s Hospital at WestmeadWestmeadAustralia
  4. 4.The Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, Sydney Medical School, University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Medical School, University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Harunor Rashid
    • 1
  • Ziad A. Memish
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Kids Research, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)Sydney Children's Hospitals NetworkWestmeadAustralia
  2. 2.College of MedicineAlfaisal UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Infectious Diseases Division, Department of MedicinePrince Mohamed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital (“PMAH”), Ministry of HealthRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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