Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance among Pilgrims with Infectious Diseases during Hajj: Lessons Learnt from COVID-19 Pandemic

Abdul Haseeb, Zikria Saleem*, Hani Saleh Faidah, Abdullah A. Saati, Abdullmoin AlQarni, Muhammad Shahid Iqbal, Saleh Alghamdi, Mahmoud E. Elrggal, Manal AlGethamy, Rozan Mohammad Radwan, Ahmad Jamal Mahrous, Safa S.Almarzoky Abuhussain, Sarah M. Khayyat, Kiran Ibrahim, Brian Godman, Aziz Sheikh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Hajj pilgrimage is a large mass gathering global event that may facilitate the spread and emergence of various infectious diseases as well as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in a local and global scenario. Planning and preparing for these public health issues is a challenging and complex process for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) health authorities. Despite multiple efforts for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases through longtime funding in education and medical care, the prevalence of infectious disease is still high among Hajj pilgrims. The commonly observed infectious diseases during Hajj include respiratory tract infections (influenza and pneumonia), urinary tract infections and skin infections that may necessitate the use of antimicrobials. Beta-lactams are used as a first-line treatment for hospital acquired infections as well as community acquired infections due to their broad-spectrum activity. However, most of the bacterial isolates such as Staphylococcus spp., Pseudomonas spp. and E. coli are resistant to beta-lactams. Irrational use of antimicrobials, lack of infection prevention practices and suboptimal healthcare access further exacerbate the risk of spreading AMR among Hajj pilgrims. Enhanced collaboration between countries, sharing of best practices and international cooperation are crucial in addressing AMR threats among pilgrims. Consequently, robust surveillance systems for early detection and monitoring of AMR, collaboration with national as well as international healthcare agencies, effective infection prevention and control measures, public awareness and rational use of antimicrobials via antimicrobial stewardship programs are required to mitigate the risk of AMR and ensure the health and well-being of pilgrims during Hajj.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1299
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Hajj pilgrims
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • preventive measures
  • surveillance


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