Auburn University to study spread of diseases in airline cabins

Published: Jun 11, 2010 10:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Sally Credille, src0007@auburn.edu, 334-844-3447

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Auburn University researchers will study the risk of contracting a communicable disease during airline travel, with the help of a $300,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Auburn University professors Tony Overfelt in the mechanical engineering department and James Barbaree in the biological sciences department will study the ability of microorganisms to survive in cabin air and on surfaces.

Past outbreaks of SARS and H1N1 have generated concern about the spread of diseases during air travel. Meanwhile, some travelers believe they often catch colds when they fly, and such ideas "need to be thoroughly investigated," according to Overfelt.

Overfelt is executive director of the Airliner Cabin Environment Research Center under the FAA's National Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Research in the Intermodal Transport Environment. The Airliner Cabin Environment Research Center will administer the project. Auburn will integrate research findings with the Harvard School of Public Health, Purdue University and Kansas State University.

Read the article online at the Atlanta Journal Constitution