Principal Investigator: Prof. Peiying Hong

Poster Presenter: Changzhi Wang


Utilizing the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to examine the role of mass gatherings in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance: A wastewater-based surveillance from 2020 to 2022.




Mass gatherings are events in which large congregations happen during a relatively short duration. Hajj, an annual ritual, draws an assembly of approximately two million pilgrims from across the globe, while Umrah draws a comparatively reduced congregation but the pilgrims arrive throughout the year to Saudi Arabia. These global pilgrims can be carriers of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes, which are in turn disseminated from the host into the sewage. It is hypothesized that a large influx of global pilgrims to a common location can potentially result in the dissemination of AMR into the environment and potentially back to human hosts if the sewage is not properly treated. In this presentation, we provide evidence of the dissemination of AMR into the wastewater as a result of mass gatherings. This study aims to highlight the role of international travel and cross-border transmission of AMR due to mass gatherings, and to urge for an enhanced surveillance program that can alleviate potential detrimental impact arising from AMR due to anthropogenic contamination.