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Mortality trends of Pilgrims In Hajj during the period 2006-2016(1427H-1436H)


Mecca city is in the western coast of Saudi Arabia, with a population of 1,578,722 in 2015. The city is popular destination for religious tourism (Umra and Hajj). An estimated increase in population of 20 percent at any point in time due to regular religious tourism, except for the second half of the month of Ramadan and Hajj period when the total population almost triples. Studying the number of deaths, their causes and their variation by age, sex and race as well as noticing their trend over the years is considered a corner stone for any public health program


This is a record based descriptive study using death certificates of mecca city for the entire year, over the last 10-year period 1427-1436 H (2006-2015 G) which were obtained from Ministry of Health. The variables in the death certificates included: Age, gender, nationality, cause of death, nationality, date and time of death, Hajj and residence status. The causes of death are based on the International Classification of Disease version 10 (ICD-10).


A total of 70667 death record were reviewed. Of them, 15661 (22.16%) belonged to Hajj pilgrims, 5825(8.24%) Umra pilgrims and 49181(69.60%) Mecca residents. Mortality rate during hajj seasons 1427-1435 ranged from 40-68 deaths per 100,000 pilgrims. The Mortality rate of hajj season 1436 was 211 deaths per 100,000 pilgrims. Forty (40%) died due to heart problem, 22% due to respiratory problem, 17% due to trauma, 7% had ill-defined reason of death. Pilgrims who are 60 years of age and older have relative risk to die during hajj season from 12 to 20 times more than those at age 20 to 39 years of age CI (8.69-17.03) and (14.96-29.35) respectively.


In summary, Hajj is a multinational annual mass gathering event. Over the ten years period there has been a decline in mortality rate among pilgrims. Most of these deaths occurred among older pilgrims, mostly those with cardiovascular and respiratory problems with variations between nationalities.