Air travel is often seen as creating an opportunity for the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza, norovirus, and tuberculosis. A 2009 TRB symposium on the transmission of disease in airports and on aircraft highlighted gaps in using existing research to assess the likelihood that individuals would become infected in the airport and aircraft environment. In addition, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic demonstrated the need for airports and aircraft operators to understand the exposure risk and for guidance to help them develop strategies to more effectively respond to both routine and emerging infectious disease risks. Research is needed to allow airport and aircraft operators to identify high-risk areas and activities and to develop more effective approaches to minimizing the spread of disease by air travel.
The objectives of this research are to determine high-risk areas and activities conducive to human disease spread via droplet, airborne, and contact transmission modes (i.e., exposure opportunities) at airports and on aircraft; identify mitigation measures to address those risks; and provide guidance to help airports and aircraft operators use these measures to develop targeted strategies to respond to various types and levels of disease threats.
STATUS: Research is complete. The results have been published as ACRP Report 91.