JFK Airport Potential Pandemic Incubator, Study Says

Written by NYPress on . Posted in Breaking News.


JFK Terminal 9. Photo by Martin St. Amant. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons..

John F. Kennedy International Airport is perfectly poised to become the starting point of the next pandemic, according to a new study. Researchers considered the size of the airport, average number of passengers, and connections to other airports, while also using human travel patterns to calculate the chance of any one person traveling from one airport to another.  Airports with the widest and most consistent diffusion of passengers around the world were ranked highest on the list of potential viral hotspots, with airports in Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Newark, Chicago and Washington trailing Kennedy closely in terms of contagion influence.

In a break with previous research on contagion networks and the spread of , the study focuses on the earliest days of the epidemic rather than its highest intensity. In the event of an emergency, this new information could prove useful to world governments and public health officials, according to scientists involved in the study. Knowing easy viral pathways could help authorities protect them from biological warfare, and vaccines could be allocated more efficiently during the crucial first response to a global health crisis like the 2009 outbreak

By Clare Coffey

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