The risk for a global transmission of flu‐type viruses is strengthened by the physical contact between humans and accelerated through individual mobility patterns..
..Here, we use epidemiological modeling and data‐driven simulations to elucidate the role of individual engagement with hand hygiene inside airports in conjunction with human travel on the global spread of epidemics. We find that, by increasing travelers engagement with hand hygiene at all airports, a potential pandemic can be inhibited by 24% to 69%. In addition, we identify 10 airports at the core of a cost‐optimal deployment of the hand‐washing mitigation strategy. Increasing hand‐washing rate at only those 10 influential locations, the risk of a pandemic could potentially drop by up to 37%.
Our results provide evidence for the effectiveness of hand hygiene in airports on the global spread of infections that could shape the way public‐health policy is implemented with respect to the overall objective of mitigating potential population health crises.