Tuberculosis on the flight deck

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1999 Aug;70(8):817-8.


Tuberculosis in commercial aircraft has been a concern since a 1995 incident of possible transmission from an active case of tuberculosis to passengers in the cabin of a 747. Subsequently, commercial air carriers have been vigilant in cooperating with public health authorities in tracking all known exposures to tuberculosis. In 1998, a pilot of a commercial airliner was diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Company records demonstrated that in the previous 6 mo, the pilot had flown with 48 other pilots. Every exposed pilot was contacted and evaluated by skin testing (IPPD) or chest x-ray if previously positive. There were no skin test conversions and no changes on x-rays. This study demonstrates that transmission of tuberculosis in the aircraft cabin environment, even under close and continuous exposure to an active case, is a rare event.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine*
  • Air Conditioning
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculin
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / transmission
  • United States
  • World Health Organization


  • Tuberculin