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Epidemiol Infect. Oct 2003; 131(2): 849–857.
PMCID: PMC2870028

Forecasting the geographical spread of smallpox cases by air travel.


Instituting air travel restrictions to slow the geographical spread of smallpox cases would have significant consequences and present serious logistical concerns. Public health decision makers must weigh the potential benefits of such restrictions against their negative impact. The goal of this research is to provide a basic analytical framework to explore some of the issues surrounding the use of air travel restrictions as a part of an overall containment strategy. We report preliminary results of a compartmental model for the inter-city spread of smallpox cases resulting from US domestic air travel. Although air traffic can be halted within hours as was shown following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, these results suggest that the consequences of halting domestic air travel may not be outweighed by public health benefits.

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