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Air Transport and Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases, particularly those with the potential of becoming global pandemics, have important implications for airlines and their customers. A primary goal of IATA in any such event is to ensure a timely flow of accurate information to its members, the traveling public and the industry as a whole.  

Ebola update

An Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak has been reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is coordinating closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with respect to potential implications for air connectivity. Please see our latest latest statement. See the WHO Ebola update for travel and transport.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus update

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to monitor these two conditions very closely and has convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR). The committee has confirmed that these conditions do not currently qualify as Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to these events nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.

For more information please consult the WHO web page. Also, find advice to the pilgrims of Umra and Hajj.  

Working with the WHO

IATA works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the global authority on public health emergencies, on a range of public health issues. See the WHO Guide on Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation (pdf)

  • Influenza A(H1N1) Pandemics over 
  • Tuberculosis (TB):  WHO recently updated its recommendations to minimize the risk of TB and other infectious diseases being passed from passenger to passenger on board aircraft. Read the guidelines for TB prevention and control to which IATA collaborated.

Working with National Public Health Authorities

IATA also cooperates with national authorities. In association with ICAO, IATA contributed to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Infection Control Guidelines for Cabin Crew Members on Commercial Aircraft.

Emergency response

Based on the experience with SARS, IATA has has produced an Emergency Response Plan and Action Checklist (pdf), aligned with the WHO Plan, for use by air carriers in the event of a public health emergency. 

An important part of this plan involves a series of guidelines and best practices for airline staff in the event of public health emergencies. 

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Additional information

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