Transportation and transportation hubs and the propagation of respiratory viruses

Added March 30, 2020

Citation: Browne A, Ahmad SS, Beck CR, et al. The roles of transportation and transportation hubs in the propagation of influenza and coronaviruses: a systematic review. Journal of Travel Medicine 2016; 23(1): 1-7

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the transmission of the virus via transportation systems and hubs.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research into the transmission of influenza, SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV by people using air, sea or ground mass transportation vehicles or hubs. They did not restrict their search by date or language of publication and did their search in April 2014. They identified 24 observational studies, 3 reviews, 10 modelling studies and 1 qualitative report.

What was found: Air transportation accelerates and amplifies propagation of a respiratory virus, such as influenza. Transmission occurs aboard aeroplanes, at the traveller’s destination and possibly in airports.

Control measures to prevent transmission on cruise ships are needed to reduce morbidity and mortality.

Trains have been shown to introduce influenza to new areas

What’s uncertain: The effects on virus transmission of sea transportation systems is uncertain.

The effects on virus transmission of ground transportation and transport hubs is uncertain.


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