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Emergence of drug resistant bacteria at the Hajj: A systematic review.


Hajj is the annual mass gathering of Muslims, and is a reservoir and potential source of bacterial transmission. The emergence of bacterial transmission, including multi-drug resistance (MDR) bacteria, during Hajj has not been systematically assessed.Articles in Pubmed, Scopus, and Google scholar were identified using controlled words relating to antibiotic resistance (AR) at the Hajj from January 2002 to January 2017. Eligible studies were identified by two researchers. AR patterns of bacteria were obtained for each study.We included 31 publications involving pilgrims, Hajj workers or local patients attending hospitals in Mecca, Mina, and the Medina area. Most of these publications provided antibiotic susceptibility results. Ten of them used the PCR approach to identify AR genes. MRSA carriage was reported in pilgrims and food handlers at a rate of 20%. Low rates of vancomycin-resistant gram-positive bacteria were reported in pilgrims and patients. The prevalence of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant bacteria was common in the Hajj region. Across all studies, carbapenem-resistant bacteria were detected in fewer than 10% of E.coli isolates tested but up to 100% in K. pneumoniae and A. baumannii. Colistin-resistant Salmonella enterica, including mcr-1 colistin-resistant E.coli and K.pneumoniae were only detected in the pilgrim cohorts.This study provides an overview of the prevalence of MDR bacteria at the Hajj. Pilgrims are at high risk of AR bacterial transmission and may carry and transfer these bacteria when returning to their home countries. Thus, pilgrims should be instructed by health care practitioners about hygiene practices aiming at reducing traveler's diarrhea and limited use of antibiotics during travel in order to reduce the risk of MDR bacterial transmission.