4 Air travel itself probably plays an important Verteporfin role in the spread of annual seasonal influenza,6 and spread of influenza to passengers on airplanes has been clearly documented.7–10 The initial spread of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 closely matched the volumes of international passenger movements.11 According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), together with the Global Financial Crisis, pandemic (H1N1) 2009 probably contributed significantly to a 4% drop in international tourist arrivals to 880 million in 2009.12 In Australia, the first cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 were reported
in early May, which coincides with the beginning of the annual influenza season.13 Although cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 were occurring globally, climatic factors influence the spread of influenza, and the perspective of Australians’ planning outbound international travel from
the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere may have been different from travelers going from a summer to a winter climate. Even during the height of pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Australians’ international travel plans were virtually unaffected, with seasonally adjusted estimates of short-term resident departures showing minimal change in May and June 2009, and a 10% increase in July 2009.14,15 By contrast, short-term visitor arrivals to Australia decreased in May to July 2009.14,15 As of September 10, 2010, in Fluorouracil supplier Australia, sentinel surveillance data suggests that influenza activity remains moderate, with a significant number of cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 reported, with the region being described by the WHO as one of the most intense areas of influenza transmission at present.16 The emergence learn more of avian influenza and more particularly the advent of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 have highlighted a number of issues regarding influenza and travel. Firstly, effective public health messages and risk-reduction measures need to be simple. During pandemic (H1N1) 2009, measures instituted included entry screening to help delay the local transmission of pandemic influenza,17 social distancing, immunization, and most importantly general hygiene measures such as hand
washing.2,13 These preventive measures are fairly consistent with those outlined by the WHO for both seasonal and pandemic (H1N1) 2009.4 Such measures are particularly important for travelers, who fall into higher risk categories.2 Of note, evidence does not support air travel restrictions as an effective intervention to alter the course of seasonal influenza spread or of an influenza pandemic.6 Secondly, two major factors that need to be considered in relation to influenza and travel are travelers’ knowledge regarding influenza infection and related preventive measures, as well as their perception of risk. Specific educational efforts to improve knowledge about influenza and appropriate precautionary actions can be effective.