US airport top germ spreader - study

2012-07-27 22:11


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - New York's John F Kennedy Airport is a teeming hub for international flight - and globe-trotting germs, a new study says.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology paper published this week named JFK as the top of a list of "super-spreaders" in contagious diseases.

Next in the list came Los Angeles International, Honolulu, San Francisco, Newark Liberty, Chicago O'Hare and Washington Dulles, MIT said.

Top germ hub status doesn't actually mean the airports are disease-ridden themselves.

The study instead measured a wide variety of factors contributing to the airports' role in the spread of infectious disease. These include travel patterns, geographic location and waiting times.


The idea was to help understand and predict how viruses like SARS and bird flu get around and prompt epidemics in an ever-more connected world.

"Our work is the first to look at the spatial spreading of contagion processes at early times, and to propose a predictor for which 'nodes' - in this case, airports - will lead to more aggressive spatial spreading," said Ruben Juanes, an energy studies professor.

"The findings could form the basis for an initial evaluation of vaccine allocation strategies in the event of an outbreak, and could inform national security agencies of the most vulnerable pathways for biological attacks in a densely connected world."

The findings can be counter-intuitive.

The likes of Los Angeles and Chicago are well known for their heavy traffic, but Honolulu gets just 30% as much air traffic as New York's JFK.

However, the island airport is "nearly as influential in terms of contagion, because of where it fits in the air transportation network," the report said.

"Its location in the Pacific Ocean and its many connections to distant, large and well-connected hubs gives it a ranking of third in terms of contagion-spreading influence."

Read more on:    us  |  research  |  air travel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.