Mina, Saudi Arabia, 10 August 2019 — Authorities in Saudi Arabia are deploying a new health surveillance system to help keep people protected from communicable diseases during the annual hajj pilgrimage.

For the first time, the Global Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicines of the Saudi Ministry of Health is using the Health Early Warning System (HEWS), which ensures the early detection of and timely response to health threats and emergencies related to mass gatherings.

The new system monitors clinical reporting to identify clusters of unusual health events. Using a mixture of syndromic and indicator-based surveillance, it is well adapted to spot the diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory infections that are liable to occur during mass gatherings which may occur due to crowding, variable living conditions and poor hygiene.

Al Jazeera English [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Photo credit:  Muhammad Mahdi Karim; edited by jjron [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], from Wikimedia Commons