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Abstract

Imagine you are traveling home from a holiday in the tropics but a mosquito sneaks onto your plane… Could it spread some nasty disease, or even start an epidemic in your home country? Airplanes are routinely sprayed with insecticides (insect poison) to kill these pesky invaders, but how much of a health risk do these sneaky mosquitoes really pose to us, humans? We made some calculations to find out. Prepare to be surprised: Human travelers are much more likely to spread certain diseases than the occasional hitchhiking mosquito (about 1000 times more likely for malaria and 200 times more likely for dengue fever).

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About this article

Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
June 2018

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