Health care workers’ awareness and infection control practices about Ebola virus disease in Hajj 2015

Abdullah J. Alsahafi, Allen C. Cheng

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Background: Saudi Arabia being a major pilgrimage center with an annual turnover of millions of pilgrims from all over the world has a high risk for transmission of infections; Ebola virus disease (EVD) being one of them. Health care workers (HCWs) are particularly vulnerable to these infections. The objectives of this research were to assess the overall knowledge and infection control practices of HCWs about EVD, and to evaluate and compare the role of pre deployment Hajj training of HCWs assigned Hajj duties with those HCWs who did not receive this training. Methods: Through a comparative cross sectional study design a randomly selected representative sample of HCWs who performed Hajj duties in 2015 were compared with those who were not part of Hajj. Participants were taken from different Makkah and Jeddah region hospitals. A validated self-administered questionnaire was used to assess EVD awareness of 1216 HCWs. Chi square test was applied to check the association between the two groups using SPSS 22. Results: Overall, medical practitioners had a higher level of knowledge (76.5%) about EVD (in-terms of average correct answers) compared to nurses (59.6%) and other HCWs (56.7%). There was relatively poor knowledge about the EVD management, the Ebola cases fatality rate and the risk of the health care workers from this infectious disease. However, it was obvious that the HCWs who performed Hajj duties and underwent pre-deployment training had more knowledge and better practices about EVD compared to the Non Hajj HCWs and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Conclusion: This study concludes that even though the HCWs were well aware about EVD but there was a lack of practice. As infection control routine trainings are limited, gaps have been identified in knowledge and practice of infection control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-725
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Ebola virus disease
  • Hajj
  • Health care workers
  • Mass gathering
  • Pilgrimage

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