Patterns of diseases and preventive measures among domestic hajjis from Central, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Med J. 2012 Aug;33(8):879-86.


Objectives: To identify the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), diarrheal diseases and trauma during the Hajj season, and the practice of some preventive measures by pilgrims.

Methods: A cross-sectional study during November and December 2009 among hajjis registered while visiting Primary Health Care Centers of Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to get mandatory meningococcal meningitis vaccination. On return from hajj, hajjis were contacted on telephone to collect information on occurrence of URTI and diarrhea along with other associated activities in Hajj.

Results: Out of 1507 hajjis, 54.7% developed symptoms; 97% reported upper respiratory tract symptoms, and 9.3% reported diarrheal symptoms. Those <40 years of age were more likely to develop an URTI. The incidence of diarrheal diseases or trauma was not statistically associated with age. No statistical difference for educational level was found for URTI or trauma, but there was a statistically significant difference for diarrheal diseases. There was no statistical difference for nationality in relation to diarrheal diseases and trauma, but there was a statistically significant difference for URTI. There was a statistically significant difference of URTI between those pilgrims who used the face mask most of the time and those who used it sometimes.

Conclusion: Upper respiratory tract infections is a common health problem among studied domestic hajjis. Generally, there is room for improvement in the adoption of preventive measures by hajjis; and there is still limited information on the use of facemasks in spite of the fact that using it significantly decreases the risk for URTI.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ceremonial Behavior*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology*
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Drinking Water
  • Educational Status
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Male
  • Masks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Travel*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Drinking Water