A mass gathering is any collection of greater than 1000 people at one site or location. Although this definition specifies an exact number of people, many unique smaller gatherings have many of the same characteristics. Such gatherings include groups of people on commercial airliners, passenger trains, and offshore transportation modes, such as ferries or hydrofoils, and groups at other events that may be smaller but that create a situation where a large number of people are crowded into a limited area somewhat isolated from routine emergency medical services (EMS). The same treatment principles can often be applied in each of these settings. It is important for emergency physicians to understand the structure and organization of mass gatherings. It has been shown that these events are characterized by higher injury and illness rates than for the general population and create unique treatment and transportation dilemmas.
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