Behaviors, movements, and transmission of droplet-mediated respiratory diseases during transcontinental airline flights

With over 3 billion airline passengers annually, the inflight transmission of infectious diseases is an important global health concern. Over a dozen cases of inflight transmission of serious infections have been documented, and air travel can serve as a conduit for the rapid spread of newly emerging infections and pandemics. Despite sensational media stories and anecdotes, the risks of transmission of respiratory viruses in an airplane cabin are unknown. Movements of passengers and crew may facilitate disease transmission. On 10 transcontinental US flights, the authors chronicled behaviors and movements of individuals in the economy cabin on single-aisle aircraft. The authors simulated transmission during flight based on these data. The results indicate there is low probability of direct transmission to passengers not seated in close proximity to an infectious passenger. This data-driven, dynamic network transmission model of droplet-mediated respiratory disease is unique. To measure the true pathogen burden, the team collected 229 environmental samples during the flights. Although eight flights were during Influenza season, all qPCR assays for 18 common respiratory viruses were negative.

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  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01664333
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2018 3:13PM