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Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Date:9/17/2009

ets were no longer available in economy class because of swine flu concerns, David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association (ATA), said he has "not seen that wholesale."

For the most part, the airline industry is also proceeding with travel-as-usual. "We [already] have pretty sophisticated filtering systems," he said.

Debunking one persistent myth, Castelveter stressed that cabin air is not recirculated, but comes in the side, moves in a circular motion, then exits the plane into the great beyond. The worst danger comes from the person sitting next to you -- not in front or behind, Castelveter said. "The person who sneezes in row 3 will have no impact on someone sitting in row 11," he said.

Airlines are being more diligent in passing out hand-washing messages, and both water and antibacterial soap are available on most airplanes.

The ATA is also communicating regularly with CDC officials and will follow any recommendations they make, such as screening passengers before boarding an aircraft. So far, nothing has changed, Castelveter said.

As always, people who are sick should stay away from others. "The buzz word is social isolation, so children who have flu-like symptoms should stay home from school and workers who have flu-like symptoms should stay home from work until they have been fever-free for 24 hours without any drugs," Beeber said.

More information

There's much more on H1N1 flu at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Melinda Moore, M.D., senior health researcher, Rand Corp., Arlington, Va.; Dean Blumberg, M.D., associate professor, pediatric infectious diseases, University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital; Stuart Beeber, M.D., attending pediatrician, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y., and senior physician, Chappaqua
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