"Health Watch: Airplane Flu Outbreak Acting As Flu Shot Warning" - Dr. Max Gomez
The reported flu outbreak among passengers on a United Arab Emirates flight quarantined at JFK is reminding many that it’s time to get a flu shot. It was the kind of flight no one ever wants – 13 hours cooped up in a cabin with over one hundred coughing and sneezing travelers. While some thought that a few sick passengers got all the others sick, cold and flu viruses have an incubation period of one to four days. “It’s technically not possible that they got it on the plane and got sick on the plane,” said Waleed Javaid, MD, director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown. The infectious disease specialist added that the JFK incident shows how easily illnesses like the flu can spread through air travel, even if it’s technically not yet flu season. “As we get older, our immune system doesn’t respond as well to vaccines, so we need stronger shots,” Dr. Javaid said. People getting a flu vaccine should remember that it takes a couple of weeks to develop an immunity, so now is a good time to get vaccinated. Pharmacies, clinics, and doctor’s offices are already getting their supplies.
- Waleed Javaid, MD, Senior Faculty, Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Mount Sinai Downtown