Would you want to fly on a plane that had just been quarantined?
Earlier this month, 3 flights were subject to a visit from the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) for having ill passengers, highlighting the importance of hygiene in transportation.
While airlines do clean between flights, the cleaning is usually limited to obvious trash and debris, not disinfecting possibly contaminated surfaces. So how often do airlines do a deep clean? In 2006 it was widely reported that Delta was doing a deep clean only every 15-18 months! Cleaning times have improved since then but planes are still not disinfected between flights more like once a month.
Officials also warned that those on four flights in late August may have been exposed to Measles after a traveler was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease. These instances underscore the dangers of airborne infections in closed quarters with recirculated air and the need for vigilance by travel providers.
These issues are not just limited to airlines. All forms of public and shared transportation are high-risk areas for the spread of infectious diseases. High-contact areas like handrails, seatbelts, seatbacks, and windows, are prime surfaces for germs and harmful contaminants left behind by passengers.
What Travelers can do to Protect Themselves
The CDC and ICT recommend that travelers can protect themselves by:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching potentially contaminated body fluids or surfaces.
- Use alcohol-based hand rub (containing at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed or gloved hands.
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More Flights from Middle East Arrive with Ill passengers
ICT: First in Infection Control and Biological Decontamination. Infection Control Technologies, (ICT) a division of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is one of the nation’s leading Building Hygiene contractors. ICT provides Facility Hygiene Services and Emergency Decontamination for some of the nation’s most respected real estate and Risk Management Professionals, Health Care, Municipalities, Institutions, Food Safety, Transportation, and government organizations.