Mumps Outbreak and Airplanes
With cases in the United States and the United Kingdom, travelers may be worried about a possible mumps outbreak, and airplanes may be a source of concern. No direct evidence suggests a connection between the two. However, if you are going to be traveling soon, your doctor can discuss your concerns regarding a mumps outbreak and airplanes, and provide suggestions for avoiding illnesses while flying.
The current mumps outbreak investigation has identified people who may have been traveling while infectious with mumps. At this time, no known cases of mumps have been associated with air travel. However, there is some risk of getting sick from airborne illnesses, such as mumps, that can be spread during air travel. The risk of mumps transmission on an airplane is probably low.
The most important thing people can do to keep from getting sick while traveling by plane is to wash their hands often and well with soap and water. Frequent hand washing removes germs that may have been picked up from other people or from contaminated surfaces. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60 percent alcohol).
Travelers who are sick can help prevent the spread of infection by not flying while they are ill. If travel is unavoidable, ill travelers should use tissues to cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands often, and avoid close contact with others.
If you are going to be traveling by airplane soon and are concerned about the risk of disease, talk to your healthcare provider about the mumps outbreak and airplanes.