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Emerg Themes Epidemiol. 2015 Feb 18;12:3. doi: 10.1186/s12982-015-0025-8. eCollection 2015.

Pilgrims and MERS-CoV: what's the risk?

Author information

1
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Tahir Foundation Building, 12 Science Drive 2, Singapore, 117549 Republic of Singapore.
2
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Tahir Foundation Building, 12 Science Drive 2, Singapore, 117549 Republic of Singapore ; Yale-NUS College, 6 College Ave E, Singapore, 138614 Republic of Singapore.
3
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Tahir Foundation Building, 12 Science Drive 2, Singapore, 117549 Republic of Singapore ; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel St, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HT UK.

Abstract

The risk of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus spreading globally is worrying, given the annual mass gathering of the Hajj and the year-long influx of pilgrims undertaking the Umrah. Based on the incidence in Saudi Arabia since June 2012, the most likely scenario given recent pilgrim numbers is estimated to be one case per Hajj, and three Umrah pilgrims per year, but which could plausibly reach seven and ten pilgrims respectively. In addition to the 2015 Hajj, national surveillance systems should be on the alert for the low but long-lasting risk of infected pilgrims returning from the Umrah throughout the year.

KEYWORDS:

Coronavirus; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Mass gathering

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