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Public health perspectives from the biggest human mass gathering on earth: Kumbh Mela, India

By Siddarth David and Nobhojit Roy

Abstract

SummaryMass gathering events pose critical health challenges, especially for the control of diseases. The rising population, better connectivity, and scope of travel have increased the frequency and magnitude of mass gatherings and underscore the need to shift the discourse from reacting to the public health issues they throw up to taking active steps in preventing them based on evidence through research. The Kumbh Mela is a religious event in India that constitutes the largest number of people gathered at a specific place and at a specific time. It is older than the Hajj by centuries, yet the public health aspects related to this event, which is held every 3 years, have not been fully studied. Understanding the Kumbh Mela can highlight the health challenges faced and provide crucial lessons for the management of mass gatherings. This investigation used the Kumbh Mela in the city of Allahabad as a case study to describe the health problems and the efforts taken to manage them. In-depth studies of the Kumbh Mela in the future are required to generate evidence for context-specific measures to address the complex health challenges of mass gatherings

Publisher: International Society for Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ijid.2016.01.010
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