School Director Josh Greenberg has just published a major report for the Transportation Research Board, part of the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The study is co-authored with Dr. James H. Smith, a U.S.-based airport disaster preparedness expert.
The report, Preparing Airports for Communicable Diseases on Arriving Flights, offers a state of the art analysis of current disease readiness and response practices among major U.S. and Canadian airports and their public health partners. Recent global outbreaks of infectious disease (H1N1, H5N1, MERS-CoV, Ebola, chikungunya, tuberculosis, measles, and Zika, among countless others) sets the context for asking how effectively airports and health departments forge strong partnerships and engage in joint planning to protect community health and well-being, while ensuring business continuity for the aviation sector.
“Passengers board flights with any number of illnesses every day,” Greenberg says in describing the report. “Whether they have the common cold or have been infected by a more serious virus, air travel presents health risks to the public—and if that threat becomes truly dangerous, as we have seen many times in recent memory, it requires an effective and coordinated response. Our study looked at how partnerships between airports and health departments can prepare both to deal with arriving passengers who may be seriously ill.”
The study is based on survey responses from a purposive sample of 50 airports and 39 public health departments, a review of peer-reviewed and grey literature, six detailed case examples involving interviews with aviation and public health partners, and interviews with representatives from five leading international, national, and regional airport and public health organizations.
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