Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Air travel may spread infectious diseases: study

Washington: Travelling by a plane may be the quickest way to get to your destination, but it is also one of the fastest ways for infectious diseases to spread, researchers, including those of Indian origin, suggest.

A study by researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) in the US reveals that factors like plane size and boarding method can have a huge impact on infection rates.

Plane rides are a triple threat when it comes to spreading sickness. They force people into a closed space for a long period of time and make close contact with others unavoidable, researchers said.

"Surprisingly, changing policies - even those as simple as boarding patterns - can have a significant impact on the global spread of an infectious disease," said Anuj Mubayi, assistant professor at ASU.

To make flights safer for that worst-case scenario, the research team, including Sirish Namilae and Ashok Srinivasan, created a hybrid model that evaluates how people move and how infectious diseases randomly spread through contact with a host.

Its first application was to simulate how Ebola infection, a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates, might spread on an airplane.
07/08/17 PTI/Deccan Herald

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