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Suggested Citation:"Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Research on the Transmission of Disease in Airports and on Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22941.
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Suggested Citation:"Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Research on the Transmission of Disease in Airports and on Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22941.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

3 Overview Christine L. Gerencher, Transportation Research Board on September 17–18, 2009, a diverse group rep-resenting academia, government, industry, and nonprofit organizations came together to share insights into the transmission of disease in airports and on aircraft. The symposium was the result of almost 8 months of planning and discussion by a committee chaired by Katherine B. Andrus, Air Transport Asso- ciation of America, Inc., that included experts from the public sector (federal, state, and local agencies including public airports), private sector (airlines and consultants with expertise in various facets of airport emergency response), and research institutions. When planning began on the program, the committee knew it was an important topic but had no idea it would turn out to be so timely. The outbreak and rapid spread of the H1N1 influenza virus in April 2009 brought renewed attention to communicable diseases. Although the H1N1 pandemic underscored the role that travel generally plays in the spread of disease, the planning committee decided to focus on the actual trans- mission of disease during air travel. The movement of infected people has always contributed to the spread of disease from one place to another, and air travel affects the pattern and rate of that spread. However, the commit- tee determined there was enough interest in and uncer- tainty about the spread of disease within the aircraft and airport environment to justify devoting the symposium to that topic. The symposium opened with an introductory session that laid the groundwork for a common understanding of how infectious disease is spread generally, how air- craft are ventilated, and how travel plays a role in spread- ing disease. After that session, three panels of leading researchers in their respective fields presented the science that underlies our current understanding of how patho- gens may be transmitted in the specialized environment of the aircraft cabin and in airport facilities. The panels were organized by different approaches to research: case study investigations, theoretical modeling, and “bench science” experimental methods. on Day 2, the focus shifted to the practices and poli- cies that can be informed by science but too often are not. Whether the task is applying pesticides to aircraft in an effort to control vector-borne diseases, developing air- line and airport sanitation measures, or imposing travel restrictions to stem the spread of a pandemic, more sci- entific evidence could help to determine the effectiveness of current practices, subjecting them to more rigorous analysis. In the concluding session, members of the audi- ence joined the session moderators in identifying areas in which more research is needed to understand and miti- gate the transmission of disease in air travel. over the course of the symposium, there were many opportunities for the exchange of ideas, and the resulting discussions illustrated the benefits of bringing together researchers from different disciplines along with potential consumers of that research. The different perspectives and expertise brought to bear on these issues identified some new paths to explore, as described in the tables provided in Session 6: Discussion of Topics for future Research. Perhaps as important, the connections forged over a day and a half promise to lead to future collaborations that

4 RESEARCH oN THE TRANSMISSIoN of DISEASE IN AIRPoRTS AND oN AIRCRAfT will leverage available talent and resources and improve the aviation community’s ability to gain a more complete scientific understanding of the topic. The following papers are summaries of the presen- tations that were written and provided by the invited speakers to the symposium. These papers have not been peer reviewed and are intended only as written summa- ries of the research discussed in the presentations dur- ing the symposium. Not all speakers provided papers, so only those received are included in this document.

Next: SESSION 1: Understanding How Disease Is Transmitted via Air Travel »
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TRB Conference Proceedings 47: Research on the Transmission of Disease in Airports and on Aircraft is the summary of a September 2009 symposium. The symposium examined the status of research on or related to the transmission of disease on aircraft and in airports, and the potential application of research results to the development of protocols and standards for managing communicable disease incidents in an aviation setting. The symposium also explored areas where additional research may be needed.

An article on this report was included in the January-February issue of TR News.

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