SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.26 issue3Prevalence of diabetes in an adult population in the region of Madrid (Spain): the Madrid Cardiovascular Risk studyA proposed scale to analyze the quality of injury reports in cases of gender violence author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Page  

Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


VALERIO, Lluís et al. Epidemiology and risk factors associated with religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia: results of a prospective cohort 2008-2009. Gac Sanit [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.3, pp.251-255. ISSN 0213-9111.

Introduction: Religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, or Hajj, is a basic tenet of the Islamic doctrine and, after Ramadan, annually represents the largest human concentration (with up to 5% of from the EU) around the world. Such a gathering entails health risks. Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted of a cohort of pilgrims attended for pre-travel preventive activities in the North Metropolitan International Health Unit (Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona, Spain) from 2009-2010. Results: A total of 193 pilgrims were assessed and 135 (69.9%) were men. Their mean age (SD) was 37.1 (16.9) years. Among the pilgrims, 176 (91.2%) were immigrants, mainly from Pakistan (54.9%), Morocco (29%), Bangladesh (4.1%) or other countries (7.2%). The pilgrims stayed in Saudi Arabia a mean (SD) of 16.3 (9.2) days. Eighty (41.5%) opted for the 1 month-long pilgrimage (Hajj) and 113 (58.5%) for the shorter Umra. One or more pathological antecedent was recorded in 29 (15%). Vaccination coverage was >75% for tetanus-diphtheria, pneumococcal and quadrivalent meningitis but was only 70.4% for influenza. After returning, 41 (13.5%) pilgrims reported some health problem; of these, 61% were respiratory tract symptoms. The risk factors independently correlated with the presence of diseases was the number of days in Saudi Arabia (OR=1.06; 95% CI: 1.01-1.11) and taking part in the Hajj compared with the Umra (OR=1.08; 95% CI: 1.07-1.12). Conclusions: Religious pilgrims from Spain to Saudi Arabia are mainly young and healthy. Those with longer stays abroad contracted a higher number of diseases.

Keywords : Immigrants; Hajj; Spain; Vaccination.

        · abstract in Spanish     · text in Spanish     · Spanish ( pdf )