Tracking Australian Hajj Pilgrims’ Health Behavior before, during and after Hajj, and the Effective Use of Preventive Measures in Reducing Hajj-Related Illness: A Cohort Study



Alqahtani AS, Tashani M, Heywood AE, Almohammed ABS, Booy R, Wiley KE, Rashid H.


Pharmacy (Basel). 2020 May 4;8(2):78. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy8020078.


This study assessed Australian Hajj pilgrims’ knowledge, attitude and practices throughout their Hajj journey to understand their health behaviors, use of preventative measures and development of illness symptoms. A prospective cohort study with data collection at three phases (before, during and after Hajj) was conducted among Australian pilgrims between August and December 2015. Baseline data were collected from 421 pilgrims before Hajj, with 391 providing follow-up data during Hajj and 300 after their home return. Most participants (78% [329/421]) received one or more recommended vaccines; travel agents’ advice was the main factor affecting vaccination uptake. Most participants (69% [270/391]) practiced hand hygiene with soap and sanitizers frequently, followed by disposable handkerchief use (36% [139/391]) and washing hands with water only (28% [111/391]). During Hajj 74% (288/391) of participants reported one or more illness symptoms, 86% (248/288) of these symptoms were respiratory. Cough was less often reported among pilgrims who received vaccinations, cleaned their hands with soap or alcoholic hand rubs, while a runny nose was less common among those who frequently washed their hands with plain water but was more common among those who used facemasks. This study reveals that most Australian Hajj pilgrims complied with key preventative measures, and that tour group operators’ advice played an important role in compliance. Pilgrims who were vaccinated and practiced hand hygiene were less likely to report infection symptoms.

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Link/DOI: 10.3390/pharmacy8020078