pt en es
Infectious and communicable diseases: specific risks for cabin crews

Professor Jorge Atouguia, PhD

CMTV – Tropical and Traveler's Medicine Clinic

People are increasingly traveling by plane and there are increasingly available routes. Many of the destinations of these routes are areas where there are significant risks of communicable diseases. These infectious diseases, which are transmitted by air, by interpersonal contact , by contaminated food or water or by vector insects, may affect passengers and cabin crews and are an important public health problem.

Emerging diseases, which are diseases caused by new infectious agents, are also an important element of risk for those traveling within aircrafts and moving rapidly between different regions of the globe. The outbreak of SARS in 2002, or the pandemic influenza due to the A H1N1 Influenza virus in 2009, have shown how air travel can play an important role in the rapid spread of emerging infections and may even be the decisive axis of epidemic or pandemic outbreaks. Concerning diseases still unknown to science, those who work inside the main instrument of its dissemination - the plane – are the ones who are most at risk of contracting them. This risk exists not only in the cabin during the flight, but also at the stopover places, before and after flights.

In this presentation we will discuss the main problems associated with the transmission of infectious diseases associated with air travel, with a special emphasis on this particularly susceptible population: cabin crews.