Source: New York Times | Page: D6
By: McNeil, Donald G.
A series of articles in The Lancet Infectious Diseases has been focusing on global disease outbreak, in advance of the Summer Olympics in London. Some health experts fear that the Games could trigger a widespread outbreak of disease. The hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is considered a gold standard in disease control. The city attracts as many as 3 million pilgrims a year, many from countries with poor medical care. However, Saudi authorities maintain a separate air terminal in Jidda for the pilgrims, with a separate staff to handle medical screening, vaccination, and quarantine. Recent years have seen more people killed by human stampedes, fires, heatstroke, and structure collapses than disease at global gatherings. But The Lancet writers point out that a measles outbreak at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, spread to indigenous communities. The authors say that cities with a lot of air travel to London should be monitored for disease outbreaks.