The Role of Airports In Epidemics [Video]

By Jason Fitzpatrick on August 1st, 2012

People often joke about how they’ve caught their latest case of the sniffles from a recent flight, but airports can become much more serious disease hubs. Check out this video and accompanying study for a peek at the most aggressive transmission centers.

The study, from MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, focuses on airports as they serve as the point of first contact for many travelers. Historically models of disease transmission via travel centers was treated as largely random, MIT News highlights how this model breaks from that:

Juanes’ studies of the flow of fluids through fracture networks in subsurface rock and the research of CEE’s Marta González, who uses cellphone data to model human mobility patterns and trace contagion processes in social networks, laid the basis for determining individual travel patterns among airports in the new study. Existing models typically assume a random, homogenous diffusion of travelers from one airport to the next.

However, people don’t travel randomly; they tend to create patterns that can be replicated. Using González’s work on human mobility patterns, Juanes and his research group — including graduate student Christos Nicolaides and research associate Luis Cueto-Felgueroso — applied Monte Carlo simulations to determine the likelihood of any single traveler flying from one airport to another.

Hit up the link below to read more about their research.

New Model of Disease Contagion Ranks U.S. Airports [MIT News]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/1/12
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