Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hey, IATA: Cut the Baloney

The International Air Transport Association issued this generally level-headed Q&A on swine flu and international air travel, citing the World Health Organization (WHO) as its authority.

But IATA really needs to cut the crap in seeking to assure the public that you can catch a virus anywhere, ho-ho, so not to worry about an airplane with its "very advanced air filtration systems."

WTF? The WHO doesn't say that.

If push comes to shove, an airplane packed with infected people -- let's say, people traveling from an area where the virus is at epidemic levels -- is a very dangerous place. I'm not saying avoid air travel, even from Mexico. I'm just saying exercise precaution in where you travel if this situation gets worse.

Here's the part of the IATA statement that I consider baloney:

"Normal influenza can be transmitted in many situations - at home between family members, in shopping malls, on the street or in aircraft. At this time, the WHO has not identified any specific risks from air travel. The WHO and experts are still gathering information about the particular type of Swine Influenza in question.

"Passengers should be reassured that modern aircraft have very advanced air filtration systems which ensure a high level of air quality despite the confined environment. And, as always, it is important that any passenger who is unwell consult with his or her doctor prior to undertaking any travel." [That last sentence, of course, is not baloney.]

Instead, here's an objective assessment from a travel health physician in the Times the other day.

Meanwhile, France surrenders again.


No comments: