Transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome on Aircraft
After one flight carrying a symptomatic person and 119 other persons, laboratory-confirmed SARS developed in 16 persons, 2 others were given diagnoses of probable SARS, and 4 were reported to have SARS but could not be interviewed. Among the 22 persons with illness, the mean time from the flight to the onset of symptoms was four days (range, two to eight), and there were no recognized exposures to patients with SARS before or after the flight. Illness in passengers was related to the physical proximity to the index patient, with illness reported in 8 of the 23 persons who were seated in the three rows in front of the index patient, as compared with 10 of the 88 persons who were seated elsewhere (relative risk, 3.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 6.9). In contrast, another flight carrying four symptomatic persons resulted in transmission to at most one other person, and no illness was documented in passengers on the flight that carried a person who had presymptomatic SARS.