Characterizing the risk of infection from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in commercial passenger aircraft using quantitative microbial risk assessment

Rachael M. Jones, Yoshifumi Masago, Timothy Bartrand, Charles N. Haas, Mark Nicas, Joan B. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quantitative microbial risk assessment was used to predict the likelihood and spatial organization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) transmission in a commercial aircraft. Passenger exposure was predicted via a multizone Markov model in four scenarios: seated or moving infectious passengers and with or without filtration of recirculated cabin air. The traditional exponential (k = 1) and a new exponential (k = 0.0218) dose-response function were used to compute infection risk. Emission variability was included by Monte Carlo simulation. Infection risks were higher nearer and aft of the source; steady state airborne concentration levels were not attained. Expected incidence was low to moderate, with the central 95% ranging from 10-6 to 10 -1 per 169 passengers in the four scenarios. Emission rates used were low compared to measurements from active TB patients in wards, thus a "superspreader" emitting 44 quanta/h could produce 6.2 cases or more under these scenarios. Use of respiratory protection by the infectious source and/or susceptible passengers reduced infection incidence up to one order of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-365
Number of pages11
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Dose-response assessment
  • Environmental exposure
  • Immunologic
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

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