Mass gathering behaviors present unique health challenges

massMass gatherings always are a potential health threat. It’s important that travelers are vaccinated and in the best health possible. This applies to those who attend any events where crowds are present.

Adding a psychological dimension to mass gatherings medicine notes the differences between day-to-day behavior and behavior that surfaces in mass gatherings that affects general health. “Mass gatherings pose distinctive challenges for medicine. One neglected aspect of this is that the behavior of people participating in such events is different from the behavior they exhibit in their everyday lives. This paper seeks to describe a social psychological perspective on the processes shaping people’s behavior at mass gatherings and to explore how these are relevant for an understanding of the processes impacting on the transmission of infection. . . . First, one behaves in terms of one’s understanding of the norms associated with the group. Second, the relationships between group members become more trusting and supportive. Understanding these two behavioral changes is key to understanding how and why mass gathering participants may behave in ways that make them more or less vulnerable to infection transmission. Implications for health education interventions are discussed.”

Half of pilgrims unaware of MERS, at Arab News, reports on a 33-country study about “Pilgrim Awareness of Corona (MERS) Virus,” conducted during the last Haj season. It revealed that about half of the pilgrims were unaware of the virus and prevention methods. . . . The study confirmed the lack of accurate information about the disease among pilgrims, and general lack of awareness, noting the need for effective awareness programs and improved teaching methods about health issues during the Haj season. MERS is a source of concern for the World Health Organization, with the majority of cases emerging from Arab Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. This indicates the serious risk of the virus spreading during the pilgrimage. . . The aim of the Saudi study was to assess the awareness of pilgrims of the corona virus, and their responses toward protective standards in dealing with it. The study confirmed that knowledge and awareness is essential and will certainly contribute to the development and improvement of health awareness programs for pilgrims in the future.

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