Public ground transportation and transmission of airborne infectious diseases

Added July 20, 2020

Citation: Mohr O, Askar M, Schink S, et al. Evidence for airborne infectious disease transmission in public ground transport–a literature review. Eurosurveillance. 2012 Aug 30;17(35):20255.

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the transmission of the virus in transportation systems and hubs. Existing research on the transmission of airborne infectious diseases in public ground transport might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for studies on the transmission of airborne infectious diseases in public ground transport, in part to draw conclusions about the potential value of contact tracing for this type of travel. They restricted their searches to articles published in English and German and did the search in December 2010. They included 32 studies, mostly dealing with the transmission of tuberculosis (TB).

What was found: Crowding of passengers in buses may increase transmission of TB and meningococcal disease.

The effects of overcrowding, exposure duration, proximity to the index case, ventilation and other environmental factors on the risk of transmission of airborne diseases in public ground transport are uncertain.

The authors concluded that considering the difficulty and probably limited effectiveness of contact tracing for ground transport, it would only be justified in exceptional circumstances.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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