We assess risks of communicable diseases that are associated with mass gatherings (MGs), outline approaches to risk assessment and mitigation, and draw attention to some key challenges encountered by organisers and participants. Crowding and lack of sanitation at MGs can lead to the emergence of infectious diseases, and rapid population movement can spread them across the world. Many infections pose huge challenges to planners of MGs; however, these events also provide an opportunity to engage in public health action that will benefit host communities and the countries from which participants originate.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We received no external funding for this Review. All authors contributed to The Lancet conference on MG Medicine: implications and opportunities for global health security, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Oct 23–25, 2010. IA receives funding from the UK National Institute for Health Research and the European Union for his research work. We gratefully acknowledge Louise Bradshaw, Health Protection Agency, London, UK, for proofreading the Review.