Top 10 U.S. Airports for Spreading Disease

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Nobody wants to get sick on their travels. But it’s not just the passenger hacking away a lung in the seat behind you have to worry about. Airports themselves are just as prone to spreading disease.

The researchers at MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineer department analyzed the 40 largest U.S. airports to find out which is most likely to spread contagion if an outbreak happened in their cities.

Existing models look at the final stages of an epidemic, but the MIT researchers say their work can help public health officials find ways to contain a disease and make decisions about treatment.

Their top 10 list of most contagious airports are below. Notably, though Honolulu isn’t the busiest airport on the list, its position as a hub in the Pacific could expose disease to other connections.

1. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York

2. Los Angeles International Airport

3. Honolulu International Airport

4. San Francisco International Airport

5. Newark Liberty International Airport

6. Chicago O’Hare International Airport

7. Washington Dulles International Airport

8. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

9. Miami International Airport

10. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Image: Robert S. Donovan/Creative Commons

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