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Air Transport & Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases, particularly those with the potential of becoming public health emergencies of international concern, 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.  

Plague update

On November 27, 2017 the Ministry of Health of Madagascar officially announced the containment of the acute urban pneumonic plague outbreak. However, because plague is endemic in Madagascar and the plague season lasts from September to April, more cases of bubonic and sporadic pneumonic plague are expected to be reported until April 2018. IATA continues to monitor the situation and will provide information as necessary.

Zika update

Although the Zika outbreak is technically over, the Zika virus continues to occur in tropical areas with large mosquito populations, and is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Southern Asia and Western Pacific.
People can catch the Zika virus by being bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito – the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

For more information please consult the WHO web page on the topic.

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 although 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. For example, see the WHO Guide on Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation (pdf) and the guidelines for TB prevention and control​.

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's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Cabin Crew Members on Commercial Aircraft.

Emergency response

Based on the experience with different outbreaks, IATA has produced an Emergency Response Plan and Action Checklist (pdf), 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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