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Title: Prevention and surveillance of public health risks during extended mass gatherings in rural areas: The experience of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Australia
Contributor(s): Polkinghorne, B G (author); Massey, Peter D  (author); Durrheim, D N (author); Byrnes, T (author); MacIntyre, C R (author)
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.09.014
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Abstract: Objective: To describe and evaluate the public health response to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, an annual extended mass gathering in rural New South Wales, Australia; and to propose a framework for responding to similar rural mass gatherings. Study design: Process evaluation by direct observation, archival analysis and focus group discussion. Methods: The various components of the public health response to the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival were actively recorded. An archival review of documentation from 2007 to 2010 was performed to provide context. A focus group was also conducted to discuss the evolution of the public health response and the consequences of public health involvement. Results: Public health risks increased with increasing duration of the rural mass gathering. Major events held within the rural mass gathering further strained resources. The prevention, preparedness, response and recovery principles provided a useful framework for public health actions. Particular risks included inadequately trained food preparation volunteers functioning in poorly equipped temporary facilities, heat-related ailments and arboviral disease. Conclusion: Extended mass gatherings in rural areas pose particular public health challenges; surge capacity is limited and local infrastructure may be overwhelmed in the event of an acute incident or outbreak. There is value in proactive public health surveillance and monitoring. Annual mass gatherings provide opportunities for continual systems improvement. Early multi-agency planning can identify key risks and identify opportunities for partnership. Special consideration is required for major events within mass gatherings.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Public Health, 127(1), p. 32-38
Publisher: WB Saunders Co Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0033-3506
Field of Research (FOR): 111708 Health and Community Services
111716 Preventive Medicine
111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 920401 Behaviour and Health
920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified
920205 Health Education and Promotion
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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