Series: Mass gatherings – modelling and research

The Lancet Infectious Disease
Mar 2012  Volume 12  Number 3  p167 – 254

Infectious disease surveillance and modelling across geographic frontiers and scientific specialties
Kamran Khan, Scott JN McNabb, Ziad A Memish, Rose Eckhardt, Wei Hu, David Kossowsky, Jennifer Sears, Julien Arino, Anders Johansson, Maurizio Barbeschi, Brian McCloskey, Bonnie Henry, Martin Cetron, John S Brownstein

Infectious disease surveillance for mass gatherings (MGs) can be directed locally and globally; however, epidemic intelligence from these two levels is not well integrated. Modelling activities related to MGs have historically focused on crowd behaviours around MG focal points and their relation to the safety of attendees. The integration of developments in internet-based global infectious disease surveillance, transportation modelling of populations travelling to and from MGs, mobile phone technology for surveillance during MGs, metapopulation epidemic modelling, and crowd behaviour modelling is important for progress in MG health. Integration of surveillance across geographic frontiers and modelling across scientific specialties could produce the first real-time risk monitoring and assessment platform that could strengthen awareness of global infectious disease threats before, during, and immediately after MGs. An integrated platform of this kind could help identify infectious disease threats of international concern at the earliest stages possible; provide insights into which diseases are most likely to spread into the MG; help with anticipatory surveillance at the MG; enable mathematical modelling to predict the spread of infectious diseases to and from MGs; simulate the effect of public health interventions aimed at different local and global levels; serve as a foundation for scientific research and innovation in MG health; and strengthen engagement between the scientific community and stakeholders at local, national, and global levels.

Research agenda for mass gatherings: a call to action
John S Tam, Maurizio Barbeschi, Natasha Shapovalova, Sylvie Briand, Ziad A Memish, Marie-Paule Kieny

Public health research is essential for the development of effective policies and planning to address health security and risks associated with mass gatherings (MGs). Crucial research topics related to MGs and their effects on global health security are discussed in this review. The research agenda for MGs consists of a framework of five major public health research directions that address issues related to reducing the risk of public health emergencies during MGs; restricting the occurrence of non-communicable and communicable diseases; minimisation of the effect of public health events associated with MGs; optimisation of the medical services and treatment of diseases during MGs; and development and application of modern public health measures. Implementation of the proposed research topics would be expected to provide benefits over the medium to long term in planning for MGs.