Navigation Links
Air travel and flu: Post-9/11 restrictions delayed start of season

The onset of the flu season in the USA has been shown to be influenced by air travel. After flights were restricted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the flu season started about two weeks later than usual.

In both the northern and southern hemispheres, influenza epidemics occur annually during the winter flu season. Given the concerns about global epidemics of serious strains of flu, such as occurred in 1918, as well as the more recent, localized outbreaks of 'bird flu', it is important to know more about how flu spreads round the world. Might airline travel play a role in the spread of the infection across large distances? If so, reducing or restricting air travel might be useful in the early stages of a serious global epidemic. Research at the Children's Hospital Boston, now published in PLoS Medicine, has investigated the effects of air travel on the annual spread of flu in the US.

The researchers analyzed government records on deaths from flu and pneumonia in cities from nine regions of the US between 1996 and 2005. For each year, they determined the time it took for the epidemic to spread across the country and the date of the national peak in flu deaths. They used government estimates of passenger air travel to explore any connection with the timing of the annual flu epidemics.

They found the usual time taken for a flu epidemic to reach peak levels across the US was about two weeks, and that the national peak date was within two days of the average date ?February 17. Flu spread more slowly in years when the number of domestic air travelers was lower. However, the most striking finding was that the peak date of the US flu season following September 11, 2001 was delayed, by 13 days, to March 2. Following the terrorist attack, there were restrictions on air travel and many people themselves chose to use other forms of transport.

The peak date then returned to February 17 over the subsequent two flu seasons, when intern ational airline travel went back to its previous level. In contrast, the researchers found no delay in the 2001?002 flu season in France, where there were no flight restrictions. Although other factors may possibly have been involved, the findings suggest that air travel affects both the peak date and the rate of spread of flu. This does not prove that travel restriction would be effective in altering the course of a flu pandemic, but it does provide evidence that air travel plays a significant role in the annual spread of flu in the United States. The findings will help plan for the next flu pandemic.


Source:Public Library of Science

Related biology news :

1. Experiments provide proof of how traveling in groups protects insects
2. Experiments provide proof of how traveling in groups protects insects
3. Norovirus found to cause travelers diarrhea
4. Researchers develop new method for studying mental time travel
5. Drug resistance may travel same path as quorum sensing
6. Air travel and pandemic flu
7. Some butterflies travel farther, reproduce faster
8. Proteins important in Alzheimers, Parkinsons disease travel in the slow lane
9. Better health twice as likely for nonsmokers who live and work with smoking restrictions
10. Report that delayed motherhood decreases life expectancy of mouse offspring
11. Low oxygen likely made Great Dying worse, greatly delayed recovery
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled With ... Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through 2021  ... report, " Global Biometrics Market By Type, By ... 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market is projected ... of growing security concerns across various end use sectors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is ... has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval ... Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, ... after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem cells derived ... debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers to the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: