Acquisition of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens among health care workers during the 2015 Hajj season
American Journal of Infection Control
Yezli S1, Alotaibi B2, Al-Abdely H3, Balkhy HH4, Yassin Y2, Mushi A2, Maashi F2, Pezzi L5, Benkouiten S6, Charrel R5, Raoult D7, Gautret P6.
1 Global Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicine, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Global Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicine, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
3 General Directorate of Infection Prevention and Control, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
4 King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Infection Prevention and Control Department, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (MNGHA), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
5 UMR “Emergence des Pathologies Virales” (EPV: Aix-Marseille Univ-IRD 190-Inserm 1207-EHESP-IHU Méditerranée Infection), Marseille, France.
6 Aix Marseille Univ, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, Microbes Vecteurs Infections Tropicales et Méditerranéennes (VITROME), Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire-Méditerranée Infection, Marseille, France.
7 Aix Marseille Univ, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, Evolution Phylogénie et Infections (MEPHI), Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire-Méditerranée Infection, Marseille, France.
Year of Publication:
Data on the risk of transmission of infection to health care workers (HCWs) serving ill pilgrims during the Hajj is scarce.
Two cohorts of HCWs, the first serving Hajj pilgrims in Mecca and the second serving patients in Al-Ahsa, were investigated for respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms and pathogen carriage using multiplex polymerase chain reaction before and after the 2015 Hajj.
A total of 211 HCWs were enrolled of whom 92 were exposed to pilgrims (Mecca cohort), whereas 119 were not exposed (Al-Ahsa cohort). Symptoms were observed only in HCWs from the Mecca cohort, with 29.3% experiencing respiratory symptoms during the Hajj period or in the subsequent days and 3.3% having gastrointestinal symptoms. Acquisition rates of at least 1 respiratory virus were 14.7% in the Mecca cohort and 3.4% in the Al-Ahsa cohort (P = .003). Acquisition rates of at least 1 respiratory bacterium were 11.8% and 18.6% in the Mecca and Al-Ahsa cohorts, respectively (P = .09). Gastrointestinal pathogens were rarely isolated in both cohorts of HCWs and acquisition of pathogens after the Hajj was documented in only a few individuals.
HCWs providing care for pilgrims both acquire pathogens and present symptoms (especially respiratory symptoms) more frequently than those not working during Hajj.