Lifestyle & Belief

Airports that spread disease: study finds JFK, LAX, HNL worst (VIDEO)


An MIT study found the top airports for spreading pandemics in the US.


Allison Joyce

Researchers at MIT have identified the US airports most responsible for the spread of pandemics.

The top airports included New York City's JFK, Los Angeles' LAX and the Honolulu International Airport - which are said to be the primary culprits in spreading disease.

San Francisco, Chicago and Newark were also major transporters for disease.

According to the Atlantic, there is an increasing awareness as to how air travel has become central to creating pandemics like the SARS crisis, the swine flu and the bird flu.

The study used a mathematical model to understand how the top airports around the country influence how contagious diseases move around the country, said NPR.

The model used factors such as individual travel patterns, waiting times at airports and the location of the airport geographically.

Researchers said their findings could help stem the spread of disease and channel vaccination efforts to where they are most needed.

"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," said researcher Ruben Juanes, an associate professor in energy studies in civil and environmental engineering at MIT, according to Hawaii Reporter.

The study was published in the journal PLoS One.