These days you can be across the globe in just hours. Thanks to that international air travel, the world feels like it’s getting smaller. At the same time, however, there's a growing risk that's involved.
“Air flights that can go anywhere -- you could be in contact with an infectious disease without necessarily knowing so,” said Kendra Findley, administrator of Community Health & Epidemiology at Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
Millions of people cross paths on planes and in airports. That means infectious diseases can spread as fast as those jets can go.
“With international travel, disease is a global issue it's not just a local issue,” stated Findley.
The latest example is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, referred to as by its acronym MERS. The World Health Organization reports at least 570 cases worldwide. More than 170 people have died.
“Anytime you have a new virus that is in the population, it can be a risk because your immune system has never come in contact with it before,” said Findley.
The health department says only three confirmed MERS cases are here in the United States. One of those three individuals was on the same flight to Florida as two people from Greene County.
“The two residents that were on that flight they have not had any symptoms,” said Findley.
They've been feeling fine, but the two people went in for testing to be on the safe side.
"It is a waiting game at this point for the CDC to get those results back to us," said Findley.
“It is nothing to be concerned about necessarily but It is always good to be aware. Especially, this is a good example of being aware of hygiene,” said Kathryn Wall, public health information administrator at Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
As of now, the health department says the vast majority of us are not at risk.
“We have said it a million times, but hand washing can prevent so many things and so that is something to really keep in mind,” said Wall.