Posted by: olymponomics | April 26, 2012

Contagious disease and mass gatherings

Mass gatherings such as the Olympics create the potential for the spread of contagious disease, due to the increased level of population movements around the time of the event, in particular with regard to international travel. This is an essential feature of mass gatherings attracting large numbers of people, for example cholera outbreaks were associated with pilgrimages during colonial times. In the aftermath of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the province of British Columbia suffered its largest measles outbreak since 1997, with 82 cases reported. There was also a measles scare after the 2012 Super Bowl in Indiana, leading the WHO to highlight the importance of immunisation at major sporting events. The upcoming London Olympics has led to publication of a series of articles in the Lancet examining the risks of outbreaks of contagious disease at major events and setting an agenda for research and prevention.

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