“Pooping on that 12 hour flight may be a public health service. Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark are siphoning off the sludge from international airline flights and using it to study the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.
In a study in Scientific Reports, they break down their analysis of 18 different airplanes that arrived in Copenhagen from nine different cities around the world, looking for the presence of things like Salmonella and Clostridium difficile.
The team found that Salmonella was more prevalent in poop arriving from Southeast Asia, while the sludge from planes arriving from North America was more likely to contain C. difficile (a bacteria that causes a nasty drug-resistant infection). Planes arriving from Asia had higher rates of DNA from drug-resistant bacteria strains overall.”
— “Pooping on Airplanes Could Contribute to Public Health Research,” Shaunacy Ferro, Mental Floss
“Airplane Poop Could Help Track Global Disease Outbreaks,” Sarah Zhang, Wired
“Meta-genomic analysis of toilet waste from long distance flights; a step towards global surveillance of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance,” Thomas Nordahl Petersen, Simon Rasmussen et al., Nature Scientific Reports
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Tags: airline travel, airplane toilets, bacteria, epidemiology, feces, international travel, mental floss, Meta-genomic analysis, public health, sanitary waste, Technical University of Denmark, toilet waste