Demographic distribution and transmission potential of influenza A and 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 in pilgrims

  • Ahmed Ashshi Faculty of Applied Medical Science, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • Esam Azhar Faculty of Applied Medical Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Ayman Johargy Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • Atif Asghar Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • Aiman Momenah Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • Abdulhafeez Turkestani Preventive Medicine, Health Directorate, Makkah region, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia
  • Saad Alghamdi Faculty of Applied Medical Science, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • Ziad Memish Preventive Medicine Directorate, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Ahmed Al-Ghamdi King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Maha Alawi Infection Control Unit, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Sherif El-Kafrawy Special Infectious Agents Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Mohomed Farouk Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • Steve Harakeh Special Infectious Agents Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Taha Kumosani Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Hatim Makhdoum Virology Unit, Jeddah Regional Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia
  • Elie K Barbour Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Keywords: demographic distribution, Makkah pilgrims, influenza A H1N1

Abstract

Introduction: The World Health Organization’s persistent reporting of global outbreaks of influenza A viruses, including the 2009 pandemic swine A H1N1 strain (H1N1pdm09), justified the targeted surveillance of pilgrims during their annual congregation that pools more than two million people from around 165 nations in a confined area of Makkah city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Methodology: A total of 1,600 pilgrims were included in the targeted surveillance of influenza A and the 2009 pandemic swine H1N1 strain in the Hajj (pilgrimage) season of 2010. Each pilgrim responded to a demographic and health questionnaire. Collected oropharyngeal swabs were analyzed by real-time PCR for influenza A viruses, and positive samples were further analyzed for the presence of H1N1pdm09. Fisher’s exact test was applied in the analysis of the significance of the distribution of influenza-positive pilgrims according to demographic characters.

Results: A total of 120 pilgrims (7.5%) tested positive for influenza A viruses by real-time PCR. Nine out of the 120 influenza-A-positive pilgrims (7.5%) were positive for H1N1pdm09. Demographics played a significant role in those pilgrims who tested positive for influenza A.

Conclusions: The detection of H1N1pdm09 in pilgrims at their port of entry to the KSA was alarming, due to the high potential of trans-boundary transmission. This situation necessitates the implementation of specific prevention and control programs to limit infection by influenza A viruses.

Published
2014-09-12
How to Cite
1.
Ashshi A, Azhar E, Johargy A, Asghar A, Momenah A, Turkestani A, Alghamdi S, Memish Z, Al-GhamdiA, Alawi M, El-KafrawyS, Farouk M, Harakeh S, Kumosani T, Makhdoum H, Barbour EK (2014) Demographic distribution and transmission potential of influenza A and 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 in pilgrims. J Infect Dev Ctries 8:1169-1175. doi: 10.3855/jidc.4204
Section
Original Articles