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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2008. Quarantine Facilities for Arriving Air Travelers: Identification of Planning Needs and Costs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13989.
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S U M M A R Y Threats to public health are a concern to the air travel industry for many reasons, not the least of which is the potential for air travelers to be ill with one of nine communicable diseases that could require quarantine at or near an airport. The threat of pandemic flu and the specter of terrorists using pathogens as a weapon have mobilized many government and defense agencies which are addressing how to detect and con- tain the spread of potentially deadly illnesses to the general public. Since one of the most effec- tive means of controlling communicable diseases is to reduce the exposure of healthy individu- als to persons who have the illness, the subject of quarantine has surfaced as a critical tool to be employed when necessary. The Airport Cooperative Research Program sponsored research undertaken by TriData the divi- sion of System Planning Corporation into what would be necessary to effectively quarantine up to 200 travelers from an international flight for 2 weeks, and how much it might cost. This study also presents information on the nature of quarantine and the laws that authorize this form of medical surveillance. There are four phases of quarantine: (1) the decision to quarantine, (2) establishing quarantine, (3) quarantine operations, and (4) demobilization (including recovery). For this study, quaran- tine at an airport facility away from the main terminal was the premise on which a range of costs was estimated. These costs include the price for stand-by readiness, the costs of activating the site, the financial requirements attendant to operating a quarantine for 2 weeks, and recovery or demobilization costs. Each of these is described in terms of the specific services, supplies, and some of the infrastructure that would be needed. The research revealed that the estimated cost to acquire and maintain basic supplies would be over $100,000. In addition, the value of the space that would be needed might cost about $15,000 per month, though this figure would vary widely given market conditions and location. Once a quarantine is ordered, the costs to activate it (setting up accommodations, renting showers, portable toilets, adding telephone lines, and so forth) could run another $20,000 more. The biggest price tag would apply to the round-the-clock operation of lodging, food, recreation, com- munications, sanitation, basic health services, security, and cleaning which was estimated to be almost $150,000 for the duration of the quarantine. Closing out the site and managing the records would add another $5,000 (conservatively) to the cost. In round figures, then, a quaran- tine established under the parameters of this study could cost over a quarter of a million dollars. This figure does not include stand-by costs of approximately $15,000/month for an indefinite period, representing the value of the space, which could easily dwarf all other costs. Quarantine Facilities for Arriving Air Travelers: Identification of Planning Needs and Costs 1

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 5: Quarantine Facilities for Arriving Air Travelers: Identification of Planning Needs and Costs explores facility issues, security considerations, and estimated costs (including operating costs) that airport operators and policymakers may want to consider when planning for the potential quarantine of arriving air travelers.


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