A study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has identified New York’s Kennedy Airport as the most influential US hub in the spread of infectious disease.
Unlike previous research, which had focused on the locations that ultimately developed the highest infection rates during epidemics, the MIT study examines how important the 40 largest US airports are in spreading disease outwards.
The study took into account a wide variety of factors, chiefly variations in travel patterns among individuals, the location of airports, the disparity in interactions among airports and waiting times at airports.
Following JFK on the list of germ hubs were airports in Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Newark, Chicago (O’Hare), Washington (Dulles) and Atlanta.
Looking to create a tool capable of predicting where and how fast a disease might spread, MIT hopes the new approach could help determine measures for containing infection in specific areas.
"Our work is the first to look at the spatial spreading of contagion processes at early times, and to propose a predictor for which ‘nodes’ – in this case, airports – will lead to more aggressive spatial spreading," ARCO Associate Professor in Energy Studies at CEE Ruben Juanes said.
"The findings could form the basis for an initial evaluation of vaccine allocation strategies in the event of an outbreak, and could inform national security agencies of the most vulnerable pathways for biological attacks in a densely connected world."
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H