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As a setting for potential tuberculosis (TB) transmission and contact tracing, aircraft pose specific challenges. Evidence-based guidelines are needed to support the related-risk assessment and contact-tracing efforts. In this study evidence of TB transmission on aircraft was identified to update the Risk Assessment Guidelines for TB Transmitted on Aircraft (RAGIDA-TB) of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Electronic searches were undertaken from Medline (Pubmed), Embase and Cochrane Library until 19 July 2013. Eligible records were identified by a two-stage screening process and data on flight and index case characteristics as well as contact tracing strategies extracted. The systematic literature review retrieved 21 records. Ten of these records were available only after the previous version of the RAGIDA guidelines (2009) and World Health Organization guidelines on TB and air travel (2008) were published. Seven of the 21 records presented some evidence of possible in-flight transmission, but only one record provided substantial evidence of TB transmission on an aircraft. The data indicate that overall risk of TB transmission on aircraft is very low. The updated ECDC guidelines for TB transmission on aircraft have global implications due to inevitable need for international collaboration in contract tracing and risk assessment.


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