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Non-communicable health risks during mass gatherings

Large gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, religious ceremonies and demonstrations are an essential part of a society’s vibrant public life and traditions, but they also carry risks. Participants can suffer from stress-related illnesses or sustained exposure to extreme temperatures, and even be injured or die as a result of uncontrolled crowd behaviors.

A 2012 metastudy published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, “Non-Communicable Health Risks During Mass Gatherings,” examines the broader health risks associated with mass public gatherings. The researchers, based at the University of Zurich, the University of Texas School of Public Health and other institutions, looked at data on non-communicable threats such as stress-related cardiac episodes, stampedes and terrorist attacks, and proposed mitigation strategies.

Key study findings include:

The researchers note that while terrorist acts targeting a mass gathering are rarely successful, “health outcomes associated with terrorism are not restricted to the effect of successful attacks. [Mass gatherings] are settings for panic, rumour, and hoax, and bomb scares have been the source of lethal stampedes.”

Tags: safety, terrorism, metastudy, sports

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By February 22, 2012

Culture , International , Security, Military