Tuberculosis on planes

Earlier this week there was a news story regarding a 2 hour US Airways flight between Texas and Arizona that carried an individual with tuberculosis on board. While the story made headlines, a few important points were missing from many news stories:

  • There has never been a confirmed case of TB transmitted via air travel
  • A trip of at least 5 hours duration is thought to confer risk
  • The air within a plane is filtered to such a degree that it is likely cleaner than the air in most buildings

A good resource for these kind of incidents is the WHO guidance on this topic.