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Transmission of pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza on passenger aircraft: retrospective cohort study
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    20495017
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC2874661
  • Description:
    To assess the risk of transmission of pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza (pandemic A/H1N1) from an infected high school group to other passengers on an airline flight and the effectiveness of screening and follow-up of exposed passengers.|Retrospective cohort investigation using a questionnaire administered to passengers and laboratory investigation of those with symptoms.|Auckland, New Zealand, with national and international follow-up of passengers.|Passengers seated in the rear section of a Boeing 747-400 long haul flight that arrived on 25 April 2009, including a group of 24 students and teachers and 97 (out of 102) other passengers in the same section of the plane who agreed to be interviewed.|Laboratory confirmed pandemic A/H1N1 infection in susceptible passengers within 3.2 days of arrival; sensitivity and specificity of influenza symptoms for confirmed infection; and completeness and timeliness of contact tracing.|Nine members of the school group were laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic A/H1N1 infection and had symptoms during the flight. Two other passengers developed confirmed pandemic A/H1N1 infection, 12 and 48 hours after the flight. They reported no other potential sources of infection. Their seating was within two rows of infected passengers, implying a risk of infection of about 3.5% for the 57 passengers in those rows. All but one of the confirmed pandemic A/H1N1 infected travellers reported cough, but more complex definitions of influenza cases had relatively low sensitivity. Rigorous follow-up by public health workers located 93% of passengers, but only 52% were contacted within 72 hours of arrival.|A low but measurable risk of transmission of pandemic A/H1N1 exists during modern commercial air travel. This risk is concentrated close to infected passengers with symptoms. Follow-up and screening of exposed passengers is slow and difficult once they have left the airport.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    1 U01 CI000445-01/CI/NCPDCID CDC HHS/United States
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