In order of ascending bug dimensions and complexity, you might think about viruses (Zika, Chikungunya, dengue, flu, measles, hepatitis A), bacteria (cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis), protozoa (malaria, sleeping sickness) or worms (tape, round, elephantiasis). If the person sitting next to you looks a bit peaky, they could be suffering from just about anything. Should they go the whole way and conk out on the way home, the dear departed is usually just covered with a blanket, remaining in their seat – the only airline that I know of with a place to put the poor unfortunate is Where is Austria? Airlines, which has a special closet for this.
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In passenger ships for tourists, of course, the crew can just stick those who have passed over in the chiller, hopefully not next to tomorrow’s lunch! But rest assured, having flown millions of miles, I’ve never had the experience of being seated alongside anyone who was quite that unresponsive, though I have given lectures to audiences where it seemed everyone was catatonic – my fault, no doubt! But how likely is it that you will contract some bad infection while sitting on a plane?
Well, you are at absolutely no risk if the bug in question is transmitted via an insect (mosquito, biting fly) vector, such as Zika, Chikungunya, dengue, malaria or sleeping sickness. And you can protect yourself against most things if you follow the basic rules of hygiene: wash your hands thoroughly when you use the toilet, avoid (so far as that’s possible) touching hands to face and don’t pick your nose – apologies for being so indelicate, Austria Map but it’s best to be practical and confront such issues. Do that, and you have a pretty good chance of avoiding cholera, typhoid and worms. The bugs you have to worry about on a plane are the respiratory ones, like flu and tuberculosis, though hand washing will also provide a good measure of protection against them – some people carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser.
Be aware that some bugs survive on contaminated surfaces, or fomites, as the professionals call them. During the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in late 2002 to mid 2003, for example, people in affected countries, notably China, were employed to go around and disinfect public door handles, elevator buttons and stair rails at frequent intervals.
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