Study: Measles Contagious On Planes

Posted by M ws On Wednesday, March 20, 2013 0 comments

SYDNEY (March 20, 2013): Measles can be spread on planes in rows far beyond infected passengers, a Australian study showed Wednesday, raising questions over control guidelines for the disease.

Australian policy, which is similar to that of the United States and Europe, calls for travellers seated in the same row, and in two rows in front of and two rows behind the patient, to be contacted.

But new research published at the annual scientific meeting of the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases in Canberra shows that this approach may be missing half of the cases transmitted on flights.

The research by Gary Dowse from Western Australia's Communicable Disease Control Directorate and colleagues said there was a low risk of catching measles on a plane in Australia, where the disease has been eliminated.

But in those cases where an infection was transmitted, it took an average of eight days before the patient was diagnosed, health officials informed, airlines and customs contacted and the passengers' details retrieved.

By this time, the window in which to administer a vaccine or other preventative medical help had been lost, Dowse said.

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