A Cluster of COVID-19 in Pilgrims to Israel

J Travel Med. 2020 Jun 25;taaa102. doi: 10.1093/jtm/taaa102. Online ahead of print.


This report describes a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections in pilgrims returning from Israel to Greece. Out of 53 pilgrims, 48 (90.5%) were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; of them, 41 (85.4%) developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and 7 (14.6%) remained asymptomatic. These cases suggest a high risk of COVID-19 infection for pilgrims traveling during the pandemic. Although at that time the prevalence of the disease was low in the origin and destination countries, crowded exposure to other pilgrims from many other countries led to this cluster. Increasing awareness about the risks in pilgrims is important and particularly for elderly pilgrims and those with underlying conditions.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; imported; infection; pandemic; pilgrimage; transmission; travel.