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Author Topic: How does air travel affect disease spread?  (Read 2762 times)

Offline thedoc

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How does air travel affect disease spread?
« on: 15/12/2013 16:17:29 »
Air passenger links between cities internationally are the most powerful determinants of disease spread, new reserach has shown.

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« Last Edit: 15/12/2013 16:17:29 by _system »


 

Offline grizelda

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Re: How does air travel affect disease spread?
« Reply #1 on: 16/12/2013 01:58:42 »
Probably local public-health practices regarding quarantine, emergency department protocols etc. would have to take into account the vastly different practices of the far-off public-health regime that is closer than it appears in the mirror.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: How does air travel affect disease spread?
« Reply #2 on: 16/12/2013 11:58:28 »
Not exactly new news - it's been the subject of several TV plays and documentaries.

Quarantine is a problem. Thanks to the ban on smoking, aircraft now have 3 air changes per hour instead of 5 (it saves fuel!) so respiratory infection will spread rapidly among passengers and you can reasonably assume that 10% of all passsengers will be infected at the end of a 14 hour flight with one source. Now the whole point of flying is to get there quickly, so a 3 day quarantine at each end of a 10 day holiday, or worse still a 2 day business meeting, isn't going to be popular.

Emergency department protocols can be as sharp as you like, but of the 300 people who land at Heathrow every minute, half aren't going to stay in London (where they can infect another 10,000,000 people) but will disperse to other cities and countries within a few hours. And possibly half of those who boarded the plane in Singapore  actually began their journey somewhere else.

Even if you could trace a tertiary infection in Gateshead to the primary dead chicken in Ulan Bator, it doesn't help you identify, isolate and  treat all the other cases - it's a purely academic exercise.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: How does air travel affect disease spread?
« Reply #3 on: 16/12/2013 20:50:24 »
The transmission of disease through travel is not a new thing. 

The "New World" was apparently decimated by "Old World" diseases.  And the "New World" may have donated disease having to do with fidelity to unwary travelers. 

One of the worst flu outbreaks, however, occurred at the end of World War I, and prior to the widespread use of air travel.

Travel and air travel certainly has made disease transmission more complex. 

Without travel, I wonder if the cold and flu might pop up sporadically, perhaps once every few years.  Now, it quickly spreads around the world.  The Swine Flu, for example spread around the world in a matter of months.  Could it have popped up, then locally died out a few centuries ago?

Some diseases such as Malaria don't have person to person transmission, but require a vector.  While many mosquitoes outside of the tropics are capable of transmitting Malaria, the disease dies out in the north every winter. 
 

Offline thedoc

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Hear this story on our show
« Reply #4 on: 17/12/2013 20:10:07 »
« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »
 

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