The Loh Down On Science

Travel Like a Germ

Ever wonder where infectious diseases should go when they really want to get out and see the world?
 
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science and air-mile tips ... for microbes.

Using computer models, engineers at MIT predicted which U.S. airports will spread contagious germs the fastest during an outbreak. The top two? JFK in New York and LAX in Los Angeles.

Note to self: avoid New York and LA in case of megavirus.  Maybe avoid them anyway.

The scientists studied airports' locations, passengers' waiting times, and flights' destinations. Surprisingly, an airport's ability to spread disease depended more on its connections to other hubs than on passenger volume.

That's why the smaller, but well-connected, airport in Honolulu is a more efficient germ-spreader than the one in Atlanta, the busiest in the world.

Flights from Honolulu go to international capitals. Flights from Atlanta ... go to Pensacola.

You know how they say “What happens in Pensacola stays in Pensacola”?  They don't? Well, maybe they should.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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