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Accepted Manuscript

Title: Mass gathering-related mask use during 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Author: Habida Elachola Abdullah M. Assiri Ziad A. Memish / PII: S1201-9712(13)00356-1 / DOI: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2013.12.001 / Reference: IJID 1843

To appear in: International Journal of Infectious Diseases / Received date: 9-12-2013 / Accepted date: 9-12-2013

Please cite this article as: Elachola H, Assiri AM, Memish ZA, Mass gatheringrelated mask use during 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, International Journal of Infectious Diseases (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2013.12.001

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[ARTICLE TYPE ? LETTER TO THE EDITOR]

Mass gathering-related mask use during 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus


Mass gatherings (MG) of people are a challenge to global emerging disease surveillance, research, and prevention. The Hajj is the world?s largest and most diverse annual mass gathering of religious and political significance; approximately two to three million pilgrims arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from about 180 countries, some of them with suboptimal disease surveillance and preparedness capacities, and this has highlighted the global significance of MG.1,2 Historically, respiratory diseases have been the most common public health condition associated with MG.3 In recent years, the emergence of new respiratory diseases and the potential of MG to act as venues for the global spread of such conditions, has raised additional challenges for public health preparedness with regard to MG.1,2 No pharmaceutical interventions to prevent all respiratory diseases during a MG are available. Of the non-pharmaceutical measures, only a few are feasible during MG and have been recommended, such as the use of face masks.4 Two recent respiratory conditions of global significance, pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in 2009 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2013, have offered opportunities to assess and contrast Hajj pilgrim compliance with the use of face masks.

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