Transmission of infectious diseases during commercial air travel

Lancet. 2005 Mar;365(9463):989-96. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)71089-8.


Because of the increasing ease and affordability of air travel and mobility of people, airborne, food-borne, vector-borne, and zoonotic infectious diseases transmitted during commercial air travel are an important public health issue. Heightened fear of bioterrorism agents has caused health officials to re-examine the potential of these agents to be spread by air travel. The severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak of 2002 showed how air travel can have an important role in the rapid spread of newly emerging infections and could potentially even start pandemics. In addition to the flight crew, public health officials and health care professionals have an important role in the management of infectious diseases transmitted on airlines and should be familiar with guidelines provided by local and international authorities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Microbiology
  • Aircraft*
  • Bioterrorism
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases
  • Gastroenteritis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Malaria / transmission
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / transmission
  • Risk Factors
  • Travel*