Airport screening unlikely to prevent spread of SARS or influenza

September 22, 2005

Screening passengers as they arrive at UK airports is unlikely to prevent the importation of either SARS or influenza, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.

In the event of a new SARS or influenza epidemic, air travel would represent the principal route of international spread. Although airport entry screening has been advocated, its benefit is currently unknown.

Using the incubation periods for influenza and SARS, researchers at the Health Protection Agency estimated the proportion of passengers with latent infection who would develop symptoms during any flight to the UK.

For SARS, they found that the incubation period was too long to allow more than a small proportion of infected individuals to develop symptoms during a flight to the UK (0-3% for European flights and a maximum of 21% for the longest flights from East Asia).

Although influenza has a much shorter incubation period than SARS, the average predicted proportion of people infected with influenza and progressing during any flight was still less than 10%.

Because the proportion of individuals detected is highest from cities with the longest flight duration, screening passengers from the Far East and Australasia derives the most benefit. But, even then, the sensitivity for cities in these areas would still be low, explain the authors.

Early screening is unlikely to be effective in preventing the importation of either SARS or influenza, they conclude.

Although adopting a policy of quarantining all exposed passengers on the detection of a single case could substantially increase the benefit of entry screening, this still leaves the problem that the sensitivity of entry screening is low.
-end-


BMJ

Related Influenza Articles from Brightsurf:

Predicting influenza epidemics
Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have developed a unique method to predict influenza epidemics by combining several sources of data.

Common cold combats influenza
As the flu season approaches, a strained public health system may have a surprising ally -- the common cold virus.

Scent-sensing cells have a better way to fight influenza
Smell receptors that line the nose get hit by Influenza B just like other cells, but they are able to clear the infection without dying.

New antivirals for influenza and Zika
Leuven researchers have deployed synthetic amyloids to trigger protein misfolding as a strategy to combat the influenza A and Zika virus.

Assessment of deaths from COVID-19, seasonal influenza
Publicly available data were used to analyze the number of deaths from seasonal influenza deaths compared with deaths from COVID-19.

Obesity promotes virulence of influenza
Obesity promotes the virulence of the influenza virus, according to a study conducted in mice published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Influenza: combating bacterial superinfection with the help of the microbiota
Frenc researchers and from Brazilian (Belo Horizonte), Scottish (Glasgow) and Danish (Copenhagen) laboratories have shown for the first time in mice that perturbation of the gut microbiota caused by the influenza virus favours secondary bacterial superinfection.

Chemists unveil the structure of an influenza B protein
MIT chemists have discovered the structure of an influenza B protein called BM2, a finding that could help researchers design drugs that block the protein and help prevent the virus from spreading.

How proteins help influenza A bind and slice its way to cells
Researchers have provided new insight on how two proteins help influenza A virus particles fight their way to human cells.

Eating elderberries can help minimize influenza symptoms
Conducted by Professor Fariba Deghani, Dr. Golnoosh Torabian and Dr.

Read More: Influenza News and Influenza Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.