Like people, contagious diseases use airports to jump around the world. MIT researchers this year published results from an air-travel model determining which US airports would be the major hubs during an outbreak’s initial stages. – Alex Hutchinson and Joe Pappalardo
This hub came in at No 3 on the list. Reasons: the Pacific is home to many emerging diseases, and the airport is a pass-through for travellers to and from far-flung Pacific nations.
Notorious for flight delays, O’Hare presents a higher risk of infection because of travellers spending extended periods together in the airport.
There is more to the list than passenger volume. Atlanta’s airport boasts America’s highest number of passengers but ranks only eighth on MIT’s list.
John F Kennedy International
Ranks No 1 as a “super spreader” in part because travellers using the airport tend to stay in the area longer between flights, increasing possible exposure to disease.