Low risk of transmission of influenza on the plane: 3.5% if sitting within 2 rows of infected passengers

This BMJ study assessed the risk of transmission of pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza (pandemic A/H1N1) from an infected high school group to other passengers on an airline flight and the effectiveness of screening and follow-up of exposed passengers.

The design was a retrospective cohort investigation using a questionnaire administered to passengers and laboratory investigation of those with symptoms.

The setting was in Auckland, New Zealand, with national and international follow-up of passengers. The participants were passengers seated in the rear section of a Boeing 747-400 long haul flight that arrived on 25 April 2009, including a group of 24 students and teachers and 97 (out of 102) other passengers in the same section of the plane who agreed to be interviewed.

9 members of the school group were laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic A/H1N1 infection and had symptoms during the flight. Two other passengers developed confirmed pandemic A/H1N1 infection. Their seating was within two rows of infected passengers, implying a risk of infection of about 3.5% for the 57 passengers in those rows.

A low but measurable risk of transmission of pandemic A/H1N1 exists during modern commercial air travel. This risk is concentrated close to infected passengers with symptoms.

Video: "How to Sneeze" Demonstrated by the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She shows NBC’s Chuck Todd the “Elmo way” to sneeze.

Don't forget to get your influenza immunization (flu shot or spray) this season. The CDC video embedded below clearly explains why this is extremely important.

CDC video: Why Flu Vaccination Matters: Personal Stories from Families Affected by Flu.

Transmission of pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza on passenger aircraft: retrospective cohort study. BMJ 2010; 340:c2424 doi: 10.1136/bmj.c2424 (Published 21 May 2010).
Diagram of influenza virus nomenclature. Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin