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In-Flight Infection Risk Nothing to Sneeze At

Better Cabin Circulation May Lower Risk of Infectious Diseases During Air Travel

Ticket to Infection?

"Many of us believe air travel is also a lottery ticket for an upper respiratory infection," write David Ozonoff and Lewis Pepper of the Boston University School of Public Health, in an editorial that accompanies the study. "An aeroplane cabin provides the smallest volume of available air per person of any public space."

But they say the study shows that researchers are only beginning to study air travel as a method of spreading infectious diseases.

Ozonoff and Pepper advise that regulations requiring the use of HEPA filters for any airplane that recirculates air should be seriously considered.

But until then, they say advice to air travelers remains generic: "good personal hygiene to protect yourself (wash hands frequently, particularly before eating), cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and wash hands afterwards to protect others."

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