In-Flight Transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Nov;26(11):2713-2716. doi: 10.3201/eid2611.203254. Epub 2020 Sep 18.


Four persons with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection had traveled on the same flight from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to Hong Kong, China. Their virus genetic sequences are identical, unique, and belong to a clade not previously identified in Hong Kong, which strongly suggests that the virus can be transmitted during air travel.

Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus disease; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; air travel; aircraft; case reports; coronavirus disease; disease transmission; epidemiologic studies; genome; infectious; respiratory infections; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; viral; viruses; whole-genome sequencing; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Travel*
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Travel-Related Illness*