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How safe is your flight?

Posted by feww on December 17, 2009

Every time you fly a passenger plane …

You risk about 100 times as much exposure to deadly viruses than a non-flier

All else being equal, airline passengers on average risk about 100 times more exposure to a  number of potentially deadly viruses than non-flyers.

An airline passenger also produces about 1.36 lbs (~ 0.62 kg) of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (CO2 Equivalents or CO2e) for every air mile she flies. [Source]

On average, passengers on international flights are exposed to a somewhat higher risk of contracting deadly or potentially deadly viruses than those on domestic flights. However, as highlighted by the following Air New Zealand case, a passenger on domestic flight Air NZ flight 509 was nearly as much at risk as one on the international flight NZ1 from London, UK, to Auckland, NZ.

The following is reproduced courtesy of TEAA at New Zeelend Blog:

Air New Zealand Exposes 84 to Potentially Fatal Virus

Posted by te2ataria on December 17, 2009

sent by a reader

Urgent Health Warning!

At least 84 passengers may have been exposed to measles virus on 2 Air New Zealand flights

At least 84 passengers may have been exposed to measles virus on two Air New Zealand flights: Flight NZ1 from London to Auckland on Monday, December 7, and the connecting domestic flight NZ509 from Auckland to Christchurch.


Original photo is by Gail Selkirk and may be subject to copyright.

“Auckland and Canterbury health authorities are trying to contact people sitting near the [infected] baby on both flights; for the international leg, 56 people sitting in rows 56-60 were at risk while 28 people sitting in rows 13-17 were exposed on the domestic flight.” A report said.

It is important that passengers sitting in those rows contact the health authorities to help prevent the spread of the highly infectious and potentially deadly virus that could spread rapidly among unimmunized groups.

“These passengers, or their family members, who have symptoms suggestive of measles are advised to immediately seek advice from a doctor,” Auckland Regional Public Health Service medical officer Dr Brad Novak said.

“Call ahead to alert your doctor or practice nurse about the possibility of measles as this will allow them to arrange to assess you safely without infecting others. People who suspect they may have measles should avoid contact with young children and pregnant women.”

People most at risk of contracting the disease are those who had not had the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or who had just had one dose of it, the report said.

Some facts about measles:

  • Measles is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus.
  • The classical symptoms of measles include 4-day fevers, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (sore, watery, red eyes).
  • Measles is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable childhood mortality, World Health Org says.
  • The measles incubation period is up to 21 days.
  • Measles killed 345,000 in 2005.
  • Measles virus is spread by
    • breathing
    • coughing
    • sneezing
  • The measles incubation period is about 21 days.

Measles can be fatal.

Notes:

1.Complications with measles virus are quite common, ranging from less serious symptoms like diarrhea, to pneumonia and death.

2. Complications are often much more severe among adults who contract  the virus.

3. The fatality rate among immunocompromised people (e.g., patients with AIDS)  is about 30 percent. That rate is about 100 times higher than in people without similar medical preconditions.

Above Left: Measles virus. This thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed the ultrastructural appearance of a single virus particle, or “virion”, of measles virus. CDC/ Cynthia S. Goldsmith; William Bellini. More…
Right: Child infected with measles. This child shows a classic day-4 rash with measles. Credit: CDC/NIP/ Barbara Rice

For more information on measles see:

Related Links:

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