Coronavirus: Avoid pandemics through hygiene measures

Coronavirus: Avoid pandemics through hygiene measures

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Better hand hygiene at airports could curb the spread of coronavirus

As the dangerous corona virus spreads rapidly across infected air travelers worldwide, authorities are looking for reliable ways and means to curb the spread and prevent a pandemic. A new study concludes that increasing passenger involvement in adequate hand hygiene at airports could reduce the risk of a possible pandemic by 24 to 69 percent.

The latest study by the University of Cyprus and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that improved hand hygiene at airports could massively reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading worldwide. The results of the study were published in the "Risk Analysis" journal.

Containment at airports is very important

We urgently need effective strategies to contain the corona virus at airports around the world. The new study has now analyzed the impact of implementing containment strategies. This study concludes that increasing the involvement of travelers in proper hand hygiene at all airports could reduce the risk of a possible pandemic by 24 to 69 percent.

Implementation of hand hygiene at the ten most important airports

The researchers also identified ten critical airports that are of central importance for the global air traffic network. Implementing the hand washing strategy at these ten locations could reduce the risk of a pandemic by up to 37 percent.

These ten airports are particularly important to contain the virus

The current study suggests that increased hand washing practices in ten key areas would have a significant impact on reducing the spread of viruses. These ten airports are not only places with a high volume of passengers, they also connect travelers with destinations in all parts of the world. These major airports include: London Heathrow, Los Angeles International, John F. Kennedy, Charles de Gaulle, Dubai International, Frankfurt, Hong Kong International, Beijing Capital, San Francisco and Amsterdam Schiphol.

Why is hand washing so important?

Viruses are spread through body fluids, so it is essential to keep your hands clean at key traffic junctions to control their spread. Airports and planes are highly infectious because they are very limited in space and are shared by many different people from all over the world, whose composition is constantly changing.

These surfaces are particularly highly contaminated at airports

There are also numerous highly contaminated surfaces at airports that are frequently touched by travelers, for example check-in screens for self-service, armrests on benches, buttons on water fountains, door handles, seats and trays. In addition to increasing the frequency with which public areas are cleaned and disinfected, the use of the right so-called coughing label, wearing face masks and proper hand hygiene are the most common measures that can be taken by air travelers.

Most people have dirty hands

Analyzes currently show that at most one in five people has clean hands at any given time. If hand hygiene at all airports increased from 20 percent to 30 percent by increasing capacity and / or awareness of hand washing, the effects of a potential infectious disease could be 24 percent lower worldwide. (as)

Also read: RKI: Global coronavirus pandemic possible - Germany also at risk.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Christos Nicolaides, Demetris Avraam, Luis Cueto ‐ Felgueroso, Marta C. González, Ruben Juanes: Hand ‐ Hygiene Mitigation Strategies Against Global Disease Spreading through the Air Transportation Network, in Risk Analysis (published 09/23/2019), Risk Analysis

Video: Coronavirus - seven steps to prevent the spread of the virus (September 2022).


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  3. Sakinos

    What a helpful question

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