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Human-stampede events are emerging epidemics with large unplanned or impromptu mass gatherings. They are increasing in frequency worldwide, yet little is known of the epidemiology and other characteristics that would allow for communities to prepare, prevent and properly manage medical outcomes. We report a non-traditional methodology to identify a stampede's epidemiological characteristics using news reports, social networking, and systematic search of the internet. This hitherto unused technological dimension is a useful adjunct to obtain crucial data on mortality and morbidity, improve immediate understanding of the pathophysiology of the event, and provides opportunities to develop public education to remove potential bottlenecks and improve crowd control of these preventable tragedies.
A LexisNexis search was followed by sequential searches of multiple internet-based English-language news agencies and the few research reports available in the scientific literature. Date, country, geographical region, time of occurrence, type of event, location, mechanism, number of participants, number injured, and number of deaths were recorded. Descriptive analysis was performed for deaths, injuries and location for this abstract.
Following an extensive search of media accounts and research reports, a total of 263 human stampede events were identified worldwide between 1980 and 2011 resulting in 8,268 deaths and over 16,707 injuries. Major Religious assemblages, particularly in India and the Middle East, accounted for the highest number of fatalities. Precipitants of stampedes follow a geographical pattern; In Africa, sporting and political events and in Europe, entertainment venues sparked stampedes. This case series reports 7 incidents in China. All cases occurred in the recess hour of schools, when students formed a bottleneck at narrow staircases, resulting in 27 deaths and 168 injured.
Understanding the triggers in mass gatherings for a human stampede have been greatly aided by advances in social networking, internet and video mobile phones. Particularly in difficult environments which were previously difficult to document. The patterns identified in this study can appreciably add to community level preparedness, prevention and improved clinical understanding and management at prehospital and hospital levels.
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