Aircraft Cabin Ventilation Influences Transmission of Diseases In-Flight
Increasing ventilation within aircraft cabins can reduce the spread of infectious diseases in-flight, suggests a review published in this week’s issue of The Lancet.
Mark Gendreau (Lahey Clinic Medical Centre, MA, USA) and colleagues reviewed data from studies looking at the transmission of diseases during commercial air travel. They found that while commercial airlines are a suitable environment for the spread of pathogens carried by passengers or crew, the environmental control systems used in commercial aircraft seem to restrict the spread of airborne pathogens. Proper ventilation within any confined space reduces the concentration of airborne organisms, with one air exchange removing 63% of airborne organisms suspended in that particular space. Computer models of data from an in-flight tuberculosis investigation reveal that doubling ventilation rate in the cabin reduced infection risk by half.
Investigations of in-flight transmission of tuberculosis suggest that the risk of disease transmission to other symptom-free passengers within the aircraft cabin is associated with sitting within two rows of a contagious passenger for a flight time of more than 8 h. This is believed to be relevant to other airborne infectious diseases. However, in one outbreak of SARS, passengers as far as seven rows away from the source passenger were affected.
The review states that disinsection of aircraft—spraying before landing to kill insects - and vector control around airports, as well as immunisation, seem to have been effective in non-endemic areas. However, although International Health regulations recommend disinsecting aircraft travelling from countries with malaria and other vector-borne disease only five countries currently do so (Australia, Caribbean, India, Kiribati, and Uruguay).
The authors believe the aviation industry and medical community should educate the general public on health issues related to air travel and infection. They write that good hand hygiene has been proven to reduce the risk of disease transmission, and air travellers should make it part of their normal travel routine.
Dr Gendreau comments: “Because of the increasing ease and affordability of air travel and mobility of people, airborne, food-borne, vector-borne infectious diseases transmitted during commercial air travel are an important public health issue. Heightened fear of bioterrorism agents has cased health officials to re-examine the potential of these agents to be spread by air travel. The SARS 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 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.”
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...